TC17: Archaeometry of Glass

This committee usually meets at the triennial ICG glass congresses to organise a seminar on international aspects of glass archaeometry and is of particular interest to groups such as museum conservators, archaeologists and others concerned with the analysis and preservation of our heritage. It has also produced text books on the subject

Activities and plans

Activities in 2023

Chairman Stephen Koob attended a Symposium and Museum Display “Shattered and Restored” held at the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon. This reported on and recognized the conservation work done on the recovery of some of the glasses broken in the explosion of 2020.


The objectives and activities of TC17 differ somewhat from those of other TCs. The purpose of TC17, unchanged since its beginning in 1982, is to bring together glass scientists, archaeologists, museum curators, and conservators to present and discuss the results of research on early glass and glassmaking, and on the conservation of historical glass objects. TC17 centers its programs on the research and glass problems of the regions where the Congresses are held.

Two very important aspects of TC17 are that it promotes collaboration among glass specialists in widely-separated countries and it serves as a stimulus and encouragement for glass scientists and historians in developing countries.



Dr. Alok Kumar Kanungo organized and an international Conference cum Workshop on the History, Science and technology of Ancient India Glass. This was held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ghandinagar, India. January 21-25, 2019. TC17 received support for Stephen Koob to travel, attend and present a paper at the international Conference cum Workshop on History, Science and Technology of Ancient Indian Glass, held in Ghandinagar, India. Stephen Koob was one of the invited speakers and resource specialists.

ICG 2019 Symposium: Archaeometry (TC17)

The topical session Archaeometry as organized by TC17 is a specialized forum for research and application of Archaeometry and Archaeological Sciences in glassy materials, covering the full spectrum of topics, techniques, chronologies and regions.

Three major topics were chosen for the 2019 Symposium: Archaeometry, Conservation problems and New techniques of analyses in the context of archaeometry.

(1)   Archaeometry 

Archaeometry is the investigation of ancient and historical glasses by means of any scientific methods (chemical, isotopic, or any other laboratory technique).  It is directed toward solving problems of origin, dating, and provenance of glass objects whether they are delicate vessels, shards, beads, tesserae, frits, faience, or slags.

(2)   Conservation problems 

The focus of this session is the conservation of vitreous materials and the deterioration of glasses. This session focuses less on the understanding of early glassmaking, but on historic and current compositional problems and encompasses the conservation of our cultural heritage, as well as important problems in modern glass science. Corrosion studies have been a major theme in the field of biomedical glasses, but the weathering of archaeological glasses provides real case studies for assessing the long-term stability for vitrified toxic or radioactive waste.

Presentations on other deterioration problems, from bio-degradation to color changes under UV or sun light (solarization) are welcome as well. We also invite papers focused on the protection of archaeological and historic glasses (on site or in museums or stained glass windows exposed to the elements) and the recommendations for their conservation and protection.

(3)   New techniques of analyses in the context of archaeometry

With the advancement of instrumental analysis, portable instruments, studies presenting case studies using these new techniques will be of great interest to the community. In addition, results from round-robin tests or the comparison of sensitivities and detection limits of various techniques are just as valuable.

The XXV ICG Triennial Congress, was held in Boston, June 2019. TC17 held a very successful one day session with 18 oral presentations and 4 posters.

The subjects included the relationship between faience and glass, recipes for Iron Age glass beads from Anatolia, analysis of glass beads from Mozambique, impact of bacteria on Medieval stained glass windows, care and conservation of historical glass collections in Europe and the U.S., solarization in soda-lime-silica glasses, comparison of an analog Iron Age glassy matrix fort construction for applicability to nuclear waste storage, report on the last surviving traditional tank furnaces in India. Analytical studies also examined the use of Portable Laser Ablation, and SIMS to evaluate the composition of 19th C. historical glasses. There were 3 invited speakers.


TC17 continues to review its membership in the interest of adding new members. No new members were added in 2019.

Plans for 2020

TC17 continues to be more active. There is a strong interest from the membership to publish the papers from the XXV ICG Congress. There is also a strong interest in members attending the Annual Conference in Krakow Poland.

TC17 has also been a resource and supporter of the ICG Proposed International Year of Glass 2022, and has assisted with resource information and formal support for the proposal to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Stephen Koob, Chairman, TC17
Bob Brill, Vice-Chairman, TC 17

Committee Members

Abdurazakov, Abdugani
An, Jiayao
Bhardwaj, H. C.
Brill, Robert H. Committee Position: Vice Chair
Carvalho, Catarina
DeCorse, Christopher R.
Degryse, Patrick
Fuxi, Gan
Garcia-Heras, Manual
Greiner-Wronowa, Elzbieta
Jiayao, An
Kanungo, Alok Kumar
Koezuka, Takayasu
Koob, Stephen Committee Position: Chair
Kozlova, M.O.
Kunicki-Goldfinger, Jerzy Committee Position: Emeritus
Lee, In-Sook Committee Position: Emeritus
Leonelli, C.
Pantano, Carlo Committee Position: Emeritus
Pongracz, Patricia
Richter, Rainer
Shi, Meiguang (Mr) Committee Position: Emeritus
Stapleton, Colleen P.
Tennent, Norman
Villegas, Maria-Angeles

Committee Contact Details

TC17: Achaeometry
Dr Stephen Koob
Corning Museum of Glass