Dr. Ian Freestone has researched the ancient technologies of glass and ceramics with great sensitivity to the geological resources that serve as their base. As Deputy Keeper of the Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum, he has pursued a distinguished research career, trained and mentored students and managed the research staff of some 75 members. As Honorary Professor of the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London, and PhD examiner for ten other universities, he has had a major influence on the future of archaeological science. Doctor Freestone conceived and co-curated the exhibition, Pottery in the Making - World Ceramic Traditions, and is co-editor of a book that resulted from the exhibition. He has organized or co-organized ten meetings, both within the British Museum and internationally, that have been focused on the problem areas of archaeological science and on ways of making instrumental breakthroughs in the analysis and interpretation of material culture. These have included early vitreous materials, glass making and forming processes of the Roman and Medieval periods, ceramic petrology, archaeological stone and Raman spectroscopy.
Ian Freestone was trained as a geochemist and petrologist in the Earth Sciences Department at the
University of Leeds. His core skills include petrographic and mineralogical techniques, scanning electron microscopy and microanalysis, and the interpretation of geochemical data in archaeology. His work focuses on technology, production and distribution, especially of early non-metallic materials involved in ceramic and glass production and extractive metallurgy. Dr. Freestone is as well known for research on the zinc smelters in Zawar, India, as for analysis of Roman, Byzantine and Islamic glasses. We must not forget to mention his research on medieval European enamels and glasses, especially those from Venice, or that he has characterized many ceramic and glass technologies that were developed in India and China.
His current work focuses on glass industries during and after the Roman period, using the techniques of trace element determination, strontium, oxygen and lead isotopes as well as bulk composition and
microstructure, but he is also working on the technological development of porcelain in Europe. Of
particular concern are ways that technologies develop, are embedded culturally, and then change as they are transferred. We will surely learn more from this brilliant researcher.