School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Chloe Duckworth

Lecturer in Archaeological Materials Sci


I am a broadly trained archaeologist, specialising in:

- The scientific analysis of archaeological materials, particularly vitreous materials (glass and ceramic glazes). 

- The archaeology of medieval Spain under Muslim and Christian rule. 

- The development of novel analytical techniques and innovative archaeological field methodologies.  

- The archaeology of pyrotechnology and industrial production (I like fire). 

Current PhD Students

Victoria Lucas, "Looking through the glass: glass chemistry as a window on Anglo-Saxon innovation, recycling, trade and contact, AD 700-1000"

Prospective PhD Students

I am happy to consider supervising PhD projects relating to any of the following:

  • interdisciplinary approaches to the study of past technologies
  • the chemical analysis of glass or glaze
  • the application of innovative analytical methodologies to archaeological materials
  • the archaeology of the medieval Iberian Peninsula


Glass is Class

Did you know that the earliest glasses looked more like semi-precious stones? That the Romans had a massive glass recycling trade? Or that glass beads are intimately connected with colonialism?

My students have the opportunity to learn about glass by reading, but also by doing. We have a go at making glass from raw ingredients using ancient recipes, recreating Anglo-Saxon glass beads using lamp-working techniques, and visit the National Glass Centre in Sunderland where we manipulate hot glass, and watch glassblowing in action.

Islamic Spain (al-Andalus)

My research on the archaeology of medieval Spain includes an active programme of fieldwork, with opportunities to excavate at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain and to survey the buried city of Madinat al-Zahra, Cordoba. Students have found themselves featuring on the front pages of Spanish newspapers

Archaeological Science

Archaeological science is often seen as a 'black box', out of which emerge un-questionable FACTS! In reality, it involves as much interpretation and human error as other areas of archaeology. 

My students learn to critically analyse scientific papers, empowering them to re-interpret and critically assess these, rather than simply taking them at face value. Even with a minimal toolkit, people of all backgrounds (science, arts, humanities) can access these issues and take them forward ... a skill which is equally useful when reading newspaper articles in everyday life, or making a choice of which product to buy.


Current Research Projects

  • The Madinat al-Zahra Survey Project (funded by Society for Antiquaries, and the British Academy)
  • The Alhambra Royal Workshops Project (funded by the Patronato of the Alhambra and the Generalife)
  • Addressing the Invisible: Recycling, Glass and Technological Practice in the 1st Millennium AD (funded by the British Academy; conference in 2017 funded by the Oxford Roman Economy Project)
  • The al-Andalus Glass Project (funded by the Association for the History of Glass, and Fundacion Malaga)


ArchaeoDuck (YouTube channel)

Fieldwork in Southern Spain

Glass Mailing List

The Association for the History of Glass (AHG)

UISPP Commission on Archaeometry of Inorganic Artefacts