Ancient Glassmaking - A Kind of Alchemy...

  • Live demonstrations of ancient glassmaking methods
  • Learn the history of this ‘brilliant material’, from its first manufacture out of base materials
  • Visit the site of experimental archaeology in action, and discover
    what we have learned

Glass is a mysterious, beautiful and versatile material, not a true solid but a ‘super-cooled liquid’, and scientists still don’t completely understand its exact nature. The Romans in particular became masters of mass-produced glass, cracking the secret that allowed them to produce blown glass vessels for all. 

Dr Denise Allen, a published expert in Roman glass, will explain the extraordinarily long history of glass from earliest times. She will also introduce you to the work of the expert glassmakers (Mark Taylor and David Hill) who have learnt how to reproduce the glass made not only in the Roman period but over more than 4000 years, from ancient Egypt to the 18th Century (their handiwork recently featured in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster 'The Hobbit').

There will be glass-making demonstrations, and the chance to examine all aspects of the ancient craft at close hand. The remains of a replica Roman furnace, made for a series of experiments replicating ancient technology, can be seen in the grounds of the workshop, and you will hear how the results of these experiments have informed us about how the ancient industry might have worked.

" An excellent day that met all expectations." Guest comment, 2014



Meeting time / place
10:45 at Project Workshops, Quarley

End time / place
16:15 at Project Workshops, Quarley


After an introductory talk on the history of glass given by Dr Denise Allen, we take a trip to visit the Roman Furnace experiments in the grounds of the workshop - experimental archaeology which has greatly added to our understanding of ancient glass making.

A picnic-style buffet lunch above the workshop.

Glassmaking demonstrations from Mark Taylor and David Hill, glassmakers who replicate the methods used by ancient and historic artisans. See first-hand the techniques used to blow and mould glass and handle example pieces. There will also be the chance to buy replica historic glasses at the end of the day.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Lunch - A picnic-style buffet lunch above the workshop
  3. Entries - Entry to all sites in programme
  4. Fact Sheet - Detailed fact sheet written by our Guide Lecturers

Interested in seeing a little more of the ancient world? We run over 100 tours explore history, archaeology and culture all over the world including... See suggestions below:

See something old in a new way

Andante Study Days offer rare, often unique, insights into the world of working archaeology. All are led by expert guides, and are designed to give guests access to some of the best of British Archaeology... 

What to expect 

  • An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
  • A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
  • Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
  • Small Groups 12-25 guests
  • The company of like-minded people!

Book now

2014 Study Day Details

Sat 6th December




with: Dr Denise Allen

Guide Lecturer

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