Post-disciplinary and Experimental Glass Group
Dr Chloe Duckworth
Dr Chloë Duckworth (lecturer in archaeological materials science) is a specialist in the chemical analysis of ancient and historical glass, glass recycling, glass in the Sahara Desert, the social contexts of technology, and a leading expert in the post-disciplinary study of glass from medieval Spain. For the latter, she applies a blend of historical, scientific, experimental, and archaeological research to Muslim, Christian and Jewish contexts. She believes that all researchers studying glass should have experience in its making and working, in order to develop a proper appreciation of its material properties and resist the uncritical development of orthodoxies around the (currently) relatively limited stock of academic publications on historical glass production.
Dr Camilla Bertini
Dr Camilla Bertini (Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow) is a specialist in the chemical (EMPA and LA-ICP-MS) and isotopic analysis (Sr, Nd, Pb) of ancient and historical glass. Her work explores the identification of glass compositions and their raw materials during the 1st millennium AD focusing in particular on Western European artefacts. She also specialises in the study of secondary glass-working processes, such as recycling and mixing of glass compositions. Her current work is focusing on developing a clear methodology to integrate the traditional approach to the study of glass artefacts (e.g. typological studies) with scientific analysis, historical sources, and data analysis (e.g. GIS and statistical analysis).
Victoria Lucas (AHRC NBDTP postgraduate student) has, since 2009, specialised in the scientific analysis of ancient glass, with her current PhD research focusing on glass recycling in the early medieval period in England (7th-9th century CE). By employing a combination of chemical analysis and experimental archaeology, she seeks to situate recycling practices in a mid-late Saxon context and to closely link chemical composition to technological practice and the life histories of glass objects. Victoria is at the forefront of this approach, striving to make experimental archaeology an integral part of research methodologies in ancient glass studies. She firmly believes that this, combined with rigorous scientific analysis, can challenge current assumptions about ancient glass object manufacture, providing untapped and otherwise invisible information on technological choices and the people who made them.
Eleonora Montanari (AHRC NBDTP postgraduate student) is investigating 1st millennium BC glass beads from burial sites in Abruzzo, Italy. Encompassing chemical and use-wear analysis, materiality, funerary archaeology and ethnography, her research attempts to reconstruct the intrinsic symbolic properties of these beads, their production processes and life histories. Eleonora is pioneering the systematic application of use-wear analysis techniques to glass, with a two stranded programme of experimental archaeology combining everyday use and controlled simulated wear experiments. Her holistic view of glass beads bringing together scientific, experimental and theoretical strands puts her at the forefront of multi-disciplinary approaches to glass studies.
David Govantes-Edwards (associate researcher) focusses his research on the production, circulation and consumption of glass in the Iberian Peninsula between Late Antiquity and the Late Middle Ages, paying special attention to the transmission of technological knowledge. He follows a holistic approach, which includes the use of archaeological, archaeometric and historical sources in order to trace routes of knowledge transmission, map them socially, and examine them within their historical and social framework. He also coordinates several international research projects in Spain, which aim to investigate a number of high-profile archaeological sites with evidence for glass and glazed-ceramic production.
Dr Javier López Rider
Dr Javier López Rider (external associate) is lecturer in medieval history at the University of Córdoba and member of the HUM-128 Meridies Research Group. His research focusses in two main areas: firstly, the exploitation and use of the rural landscape, the study of settlement and its interaction with the environment and nature in medieval Spain; and secondly, the science, techniques and technology of the Middle Ages through the study of medieval technical recipes and treatises (ingredients, amounts, properties of substances, etc.), archaeological experimentation (reconstructing recipes such as wood varnish, stain removers, soaps, glass, gunpowder, body creams, hair dyes, perfumes, etc.) and material culture.
Dr Almudena Velo Gala
Dr Almudena Velo-Gala (external associate) is an archaeology researcher on ancient glass and a specialist in the restoration of archaeological material. Her research works focus on the study of glass in Spain from Roman times to the 17th century, applying a work methodology that addresses traditional studies (context analysis, typological-technological, archaeological drawing) and archeometry. The results of her investigations are focused on highlighting the important value of knowledge of glass in archaeological sites where it is documented. This material allows the reconstruction of aspects related to architecture, certain practices in public and private environments, and the development of a type industry that reached a significant production in Spain, about which we still have little knowledge.
John Pearson (visiting researcher) has a background in craft design and production. His archaeological research interests are post-disciplinary, centred in weaving his craft experience and knowledge together with historic, scientific and cultural studies, and a sensory and experiential approach to archaeological experiment, to enrich understanding of the social and technological aspects of past craft production, with a particular emphasis on glassmaking in medieval Spain.
See our Gallery of PEGG researchers in action
Chloe Duckworth adding straw to clay for furnace construction
Camilla Bertini conducting LA-ICP-MS analysis on glass at British Geological Survey
Expert bead-maker Eleonora Montanari reconstructs Iron Age Italian beads
Victoria Lucas works glass at Villa Borg, Germany
David Govantes Edwards inspects a 14th century manuscript for information on Spanish glass production
Javier López Rider (right) and John Pearson discussing the experimental reconstruction of medieval glass recipes in the Wolfson Laboratory
Three members of PEGG on a visit to the museum at the 10th century Islamic site of Madinat al-Zahra
John Pearson forms loaves of glassmaking ingredients, following a medieval recipe
An example of glass formed in a single stage using our bespoke furnace in the Wolfson Laboratory
Chloe Duckworth collecting glassmaking plants in southern Spain
Using pXRF to detect pollution at a glaze furnace at the world-famous Alhambra, Granada
Eleonora Montanari and colleague Derek Pitman check the results of pXRF survey at Madinat al-Zahra
Expert fire manager Victoria Lucas tends to a bead furnace
Chloe Duckworth takes an overnight stoking shift at the furnace in Jarrow Hall
Medieval glass mouse head, photographed by Almudena Velo Gala
Medieval glass mouse head, drawn by Almudena Velo Gala
Chloe Duckworth, Eleonora Montanari, and Victoria Lucas stand behind one of the reconstructed bead furnaces
Gathering glassmaking plants
Eleonora Montanari and Victoria Lucas discuss strategies for building replica Iron Age bead furnaces
Eleonora Montanari and Victoria Lucas check the dimensions of a reconstruction bead furnace at Jarrow Hall
Eleonora Montanari finishes construction of one of her replica bead furnaces
Reconstructing Iron Age Italian glass beads
Investigating glass in Spanish museums
Chloe Duckworth sampling late Roman glass in Ecija, Spain
Victoria Lucas samples her recycled glass
Remains of recycled glass in a replica Anglo-Saxon crucible
Glassblower Colin Rennie tests the properties of Victoria Lucas's recycled glass
The warm glow of the stoke-hole in one of our wood-fired furnaces
Thermocouples used to measure the temperature regime in Victoria Lucas's reconstructed furnace
Students excavating medieval workshops at the Alhambra, Granada
Newcastle University students try their hands at glassworking at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland
Master's student Amy Farrer blows glass at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland
Newcastle University students take a lesson in flame-working glass beads from expert Mike Poole in the Wolfson Laboratory
Fragments of a glass alembic, photographed by Almudena Velo Gala
Fragments of a glass alembic, drawn by Almudena Velo Gala
Medieval glass investigations at the Museum of Jerez
John Pearson tests the progress of his glassmaking experiment in our bespoke furnace in the Wolfson Laboratory
Members of the public watch Victoria Lucas working at her reconstructed glass furnace in Jarrow Hall
Members of PEGG and colleagues from Bournemouth University working at Madinat al-Zahra, Spain
Victoria Lucas's reconstructed glass furnace at Jarrow Hall
Our furnace mascot, Smokey the Dragon, keeps watch over the stoke-hole