Materials Science & Industrial Processes

Archaeologists routinely recover evidence for the production of metal and glass objects. Much of this evidence consists of waste materials which are not always easy to identify. Historic England, and its predecessor English Heritage, have produced technical guidance sampling strategies for the recovery of these waste materials, and their subsequent identification and study, This page provides an introduction to these documents.

You can contact our Science Advisors  for direct advice or contact our Material Scientists for advice on specific subject areas.

Archaeological and Historic Pottery Production Sites

Published 14 October 2015

This document provides practical guidance on how to investigate sites where pottery production has taken place.

Organic Residue Analysis and Archaeology

Published 23 January 2017

This document provides guidance for good practice in the recovery, analysis and publication of organic residues from archaeological sites.

This guidance document provides an introduction to the ways that the archaeological evidence for metalworking is studied.


Published 30 April 2015

This guidance document provides an introduction to the ways that the archaeological evidence for metalworking is studied.

Science for Historic Industries

Published 1 November 2006

These guidelines are for archaeologists working on sites of historic industries of the 17th- to 19th-century.

Archaeological Evidence for Glassworking

Published 20 June 2011

The aim of these guidelines is to help archaeologists to recover, identify and interpret waste from the production and working of glass in Britain, from the Bronze Age to the early 20th century.

Download A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology

A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology

Published 29 June 2016

This Standard is intended for use in all types of archaeological project, including those run by community groups, professional contractors and research institutions.

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Also of interest...

  • Scientist in laboratory preparing a sample for radiocarbon dating.

    Science Advisors

    Our Science Advisors (SAs) provide advice on all aspects of the historic environment. Here you can find our contact details and what we do.

  • metalworking experiment

    Ancient Technology

    Our experts study the production of metal and glass objects and associated waste (slag). We curate reference collections and offer advice

  • A reconstructed cooking pot and contents over a fire

    Organic Residue Analysis

    Describing the thinking behind Historic England's 2017 guide to organic residue analysis and what this technique can bring to archaeology.

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