, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 270-277,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Lycurgus Cup — A Roman nanotechnology

Ian Freestone graduated in geology from the University of Reading and completed MSc and PhD degrees in geochemistry at the University of Leeds. Following post-doctoral work on silicate phase equilibria at the University of Manchester, he joined the British Museum in 1979, where he worked on the composition and production technology of inorganic artefacts from all periods and cultures. A recipient of the American Archaeological Institute's Pomerance Medal for scientific contributions to archaeology, he is President of the Association for the History of Glass. He joined Cardiff University as a professorial fellow in 2004, and is currently Head of Archaeology and Conservation. Address: Cardiff School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK. Email: freestonei@cardiff.ac.uk
Nigel Meeks graduated in Metallurgy and Materials Science at the University of London, and further trained in silversmithing. At the British Museum he has researched into a wide range of ancient materials, technological processes and manufacturing techniques. Particular research interests and publications include the fabrication processes of Roman and Chinese high-tin bronze, Greek & Etruscan gold jewellery, Central and South American goldwork, Anglo-Saxon technologies, Iron Age gold and precious metal, ancient gold refining and ancient tool marks, tinning, plating and casting. The application and development of scanning electron microscopy and microanalysis to archaeometallurgy and to the examination of the wide range of artefact materials at the British Museum, is a specialisation. Address: Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, UK. Email: nmeeks@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk
Catherine Higgitt graduated in chemistry from the University of York in 1994 and completed a PhD degree in chemistry at the same institution in 1998. After one year working for the Historic Scotland Conservation Centre in Edinburgh, she joined the Scientific Department at the National Gallery in London in 1999, working with Raymond White. Here she specialised in the study of natural organic materials in old master paintings using spectroscopic, chromatographic and spectrometric methods. At the beginning of 2007 Catherine moved to the British Museum to take up the post of head of the Science Group in the Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science (the Department formed by the merger of the former Departments of Conservation and Scientific Research). Address: Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, UK. Email: chiggitt@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk
Margaret Sax graduated in chemistry and physics at the University of London and started work in the department of Scientific Research at the British Museum in 1963. Working as a special assistant from 1979, Margaret's area of expertise is lapidary technology. Her research into the characteristics of tool marks preserved on stone artefacts has allowed her to develop a methodology based on scanning electron microscopy for the identification of ancient carving technique. She initially investigated the engraving of Mesopotamian quartz seals. In separate collaborative studies with Beijing University and the Smithsonian Institution, she is studying jades recovered from sites in China and Mesoamerica. In the present study, the methodology is applied to the glass openwork of the Lycurgus cup. Address: Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, UK. Email: msax@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk