Newcastle Material Culture Analytical Suite


NeMCAS is a partnership between Newcastle University and the Great North Museum. It facilitates the full process of research, analysis, recording, conservation and display of material culture and collections held across the north-east, and is accessible to the wider research community within the UK, Europe and beyond. NeMCAS brings together expertise from the NUCoRE Heritage, NU Digital Heritage, the McCord Centre, and MATCH, with partners from the The Great North Museum: Hancock (GNM). Our collective expertise was recognised in the inaugural round of the AHRC Capability for Collections fund, with a grant of £740k to enable us to upgrade and expand our analytical capabilities, supported by a further £136k from the UKRI World Class Laboratories Fund. 

About the consortium

The GNM is a collaboration between the University, Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives (TWAM), the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Natural History Society of Northumbria. It is managed by TWAM on behalf of Newcastle University, and is a centre for collections-based research and teaching. The University’s commitment of £1m pa helps to sustain strong collections-based research and to keep public admission free.

NU Digital Heritage was founded in 2014 with support from the Higher Education Innovation Fund. NU Digital Heritage seeks to promote and communicate the value of the past by increasing access to the archaeology and material culture of Hadrian's Wall for those that cannot experience it directly, though production of digital models of key items in the GNM collections, made available to user communities around the world. Other projects have included work with the Classical Art Research Centre at Oxford University on Gandhara, and with the Clayton Trust Collections at Chesters.

The McCord Centre for Landscape was established in 2014 to carry out research on the theme of landscape broadly defined, encompassing the physical environment and cultural landscapes. Major projects include the Hadrian’s Wall Community Archaeology Project (NLHF, £2m, S. Turner/Collins), Terraces as Sustainable Agricultural Environments (TerraSAgE) (AHRC, £750k, S. Turner/Shillito), and Rome Transformed (ERC Advanced, €2.4m, Haynes), Cultural Heritage Through Time (with Geomatics; JPI-Cultural Heritage, €587k).

MATCH (Materiality, Artefacts & Technologies in Culture & History) is a focal point for interdisciplinary research in material culture encompassing artefact, art and heritage studies, physical and digital technologies, scientific materials analysis and experimental archaeology. The group has a wide membership from across the university and museum. Key specialisms include ceramics (Duggan, Gerrard, Jackson), glass (Duckworth), stone and bone (Conneller, Tourigny), metals and coins (Dolfini, Collins). The group has enabled development of world-class teaching and research facilities and expertise in Metalwork Wear Analysis including extensive reference collections of archaeological and replica metal objects (through the GNM). We are currently pioneering (with MSCA Fellow Caricola) metalwork residue analysis, a world first. Major projects have included Unmasking Masks (Leverhulme, £108k Conneller), Addressing the Invisible (British Academy, £174k Duckworth) and Expanded Interiors (with Fine Art; AHRC, £280k).