A Fragile Heritage
Aspects of Historic Glass
Cambridge - Wednesday 6th September 2017

Julian Henderson
<[email protected]>

article posted 28 May 2017

Julian Henderson is Professor of Archaeological Science and was Head of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is now Visiting Professor at Northwest University, Xi'an, China. He has been Head of the School of Humanities, had visiting positions in Melbourne University, Oxford University and the University of Science and Technology, Beijing and has been an honorary visiting professorial fellow in Melbourne University. He was editor of the Journal of Archaeological Science for 11 years. His research interests include Silk Road studies, especially in 9th and 10th centuries AD, the relationships between archaeology and science, the archaeology of prehistoric Europe and of the early Islamic Middle East and the technology and scientific characterisation of materials, especially glasses and glazes.

Glass from England's Late Bronze Age Pompeii, Must Farm
Julian Henderson 1*, Andy Towle2, Simon Chenery 3

The largest number of Late Bronze Age (9th-8th century BC) glass artefacts ever found in Britain has been revealed during excavations of the Must Farm site near Peterborough excavated by the Cambridge University Archaeology Unit. The site is exceptional because of the level of preservation and the number of artefacts that have been found in situ.

The glass is in the form of beads and most are translucent pale green, including turquoise colours. Given the water-logged conditions on the site (which has led to outstanding preservation of organic materials) some beads had weathered to the extent that they devitrified and crumbled. Others have survived more or less intact.

Scientific analyses of microsamples of the glass beads have been carried out using both ED-XRF and LAICP-MS. On the basis of the results this paper will discuss the raw materials, including the colorants used to make the glasses. We compare the results with other Late Bronze Age glasses from central Europe and western Asia and we will suggest the likely origins for the Must Farm glasses.


(1) Department of Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, U.K, <[email protected]>

(2) RSK, Spring Lodge, 172 Chester Road, Helsby, Cheshire, WA6 0AR, UK <[email protected]>

(3) British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, NG12 5GG, U.K <[email protected]&gr;