School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Chloe Duckworth

Lecturer, Archaeological Materials Science

Background

Degree Programme Director for Archaeology

After graduating with my PhD from the University of Nottingham, and following a period of precarious employment, I was employed as a research associate on the ERC-funded Trans-SAHARA Project. In 2015, I was awarded a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship for a project investigating Roman and medieval glass recycling in the Mediterranean.

I cam to Newcastle University in 2016, and enjoy teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students about past technologies, experimental archaeology, and archaeological science. I direct the archaeology degree programmes, and co-lead the Newcastle University Centre for Heritage. I have directed archaeological fieldwork at two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain: The Alhambra (Granada) and Madinat al-Zahra (Cordoba). Finally, I run an educational YouTube channel (ArchaeoDuck) and co-present Channel 4's 'The Great British Dig' with Hugh Dennis.

My research is fundamentally interdisciplinary, with the ambition of becoming post-disiplinary. I'm excited by too many things to list here, but they include: archaeological science, the history of glass, Islamic Spain, experimental archaeology, the philosophy of science and technology, science communication and public engagement, and the archaeology of pyrotechnology and industrial production (I like fire). 


Research Pages (PEGG) 


External Appointments 


Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD Students

  • Dr Camilla Bertini, MSCA Fellow, "Opening a new window onto medieval glass trade and technology" 
  • Victoria Lucas, NBDTP funded PhD, "Looking through the glass: glass chemistry as a window on Anglo-Saxon innovation, recycling, trade and contact, AD 700-1000"
  • Eleonora Montanari, NBDTP funded PhD, "Gendered stories: constructing identities through glass beads in Iron Age Italy and Iberia"
  • John Pearson, NBDTP funded PhD, "Experiencing medieval craft practice: archaeological, historical, ethnographic and experimental approaches to glass production from Islamic al-Andalus to Christian Spain" 
  • Jose Alberto Retamosa "El vidrio en la industria conservera romana: analisis arqueologico y arqueometrico de las cetariae de Baelo claudia e Iulia Traducta" (Co-supervisor: Dario Bernal Casasola, Universidad de Cadiz)

Gendered Stories: Constructing identities through glass beads

in

Iron Age Italy

and

Iberia

Teaching

In addition to teaching on numerous modules, I lead the following: 

Introduction to Archaeology (Stage 1) 

An essential starting guide to archaeology in the UK and the world. This module takes you through everything you need to know right now, and offers a critical look at the history and current practice of archaeology. 

Cold Case: Archaeological Science in Action (Stage 2) 

You will have the opportunity to study archaeological science in this brand new module, by exploring ten high profile archaeological case studies from around the world, from Inca child mummies, to shipwrecks, to ancient DNA and Richard III. 

The module provides you with the chance to learn about the scientific techniques used to investigate archaeological discoveries, to examine and critique the way they have been reported in the media, and to design materials that would help to educate school children about archaeology. 

You Are What You Make (Stage 3 / Master's) 

Ever wondered whether you would survive a zombie apocalypse? Or why we imagine invention as something practised by lone, male, mad inventors? This module explores - and helps you to learn - the skills and techniques humans have used for millennia to control, manipulate, and construct the world around us. 

In practical classes, you will knap flint, make your own glass beads, learn to smelt metal from its ores, and more. In lectures, we will explore the methods used to reconstruct ancient technologies, and look at the 'how' and the 'why' of human invention. You'll never look at the world in the same way again. 

Research

I have many and diverse research interests, but they mostly centre around the archaeology and history of glass, the human relationship to technology, and generally just doing things a bit differently (new research methods and tools; interdisciplinary collaboration). 

For my PhD, I combined cutting edge science with archaeological theory to investigate why people first invented glass, and the links between technological knowledge and the maintenance of real and ideological power. I have worked to foster research networks around technological innovation in the Sahara Desert, and recycling practice in Roman and medieval glass production. 

My research on glass production in medieval Spain has blossomed into several separate, but related strands, involving an exciting, dynamic group of researchers based in the UK and Spain. I am the PI of the Madinat al-Zahra Survey Project (funded by the Society of Antiquaries, and the British Academy), which uses innovative survey methodologies to reconstruct the buried city that was the tenth century capital of the Umayyad caliphate at this UNESCO World Heritage site. I have previously co-directed excavation and chemical survey at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain (another World Heritage site). 

The postgraduates and PhD students who are members of my research cluster (post-disciplinary and experimental glass group, or 'PEGG') are currently applying as many different approaches as we can to the understanding of ancient and historical glass production; everything from the use of historical archives (for which I was recently awarded a Humboldt Yale History Network Grant) and the experimental reconstruction of medieval glassmaking recipes (with historian Javier Lopez Rider), to a comprehensive survey of medieval glass in southern Spanish museums (conducted by Almudena Velo Gala), and a full-scale programme of chemical analysis, building a database of over 500 samples (analysis conducted at British Geological Survey). 

Along with David Govantes-Edwards, I have developed a network of researchers investigating the politics and archaeology of Islamic(ate) cultural heritage in Europe, who meet annually at the EAA conference in September. Several of them have contributed to a forthcoming book that will be unique in dealing with this complex subject and the many different ways in which it is manifested in countries ranging from Spain, to Greece, to Russia. 

I'm endlessly fascinated by the way archaeology is presented to the public, and how members of the public can also influence professionals and academics, a process I actively engage in via my YouTube channel and via work with TV networks and production companies, both behind the scenes and as a presenter. 

Publications