Publications and ephemera

Here is a list of papers, web articles, grey literature, talks, posters and other ephemera I’ve produced or had the luck to be associated with. This hasn’t been sorted this into any sort of hierarchy of book sections, journals and the like; partially because I’m not sure distinctions like that are particularly relevant or constructive in a digital world and partially because it makes me look more productive.

Written ephemera

Nicholas, M. 2016. Metallurgy in the gloaming: non-ferrous metalwork from three Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk. Cardiff: Cardiff University. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Nicholas, M. and Manti, P. 2014. Testing the applicability of handheld portable XRF to the characterisation of archaeological copper alloys. In J. Bridgland (ed) ICOM-CC 17th Triennial Conference Preprints, Melbourne, 15–19 September 2014. Paris: International Council of Museums. (ISBN 978-92-9012-410-8)

Nicholas, M. & Hicks, D. 2013. Oxfordshire. In Dan Hicks and Alice Stevenson (eds) World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 279-301. (ISBN 9781905739585)

You can read more about this chapter in a series of four posts I wrote about the project on this blog.

Frame, L. D., Freestone, I. C., Zhang, S.Y. and  Nicholas, M. 2013. The effects of corrosion and conservation treatments on non-destructive neutron diffraction analysis of archaeological copper alloys: preliminary results.  Archaeometry 55 (1): 68–80.

Nicholas, M., 2012. X-ray fluorescence analysis of the copper-alloy objects. In R. Cowie & L. Blackmore (eds.) Lundenwic: excavations in Middle Saxon London, 1987–2000. London: Museum of London Archaeology Service, pp. 286–288. (ISBN 978-1-907586-14-9)

Cosmeston Archaeology: From 2011  I was heavily involved in running the digital aspect of the Cosmeston Archaeology project. You can view a list of blogs I wrote here.

Nicholas, M. 2009. Stone Tools from Iffley.  Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum.

Nicholas, M. 2009. Alexander James Montgomerie Bell. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum.

Nicholas, M. 2008. Post medieval metalworking debris from Park Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. In Patrick, P and Ratkai, S. Uncovering the Bull Ring: 227 – 235, 348 – 361. Oxford: Oxbow Books. (ISBN 9781842172858)

I’ve uploaded the appendices from this chapter as a spreadsheet on ResearchGate. Download it here (assigned the DOI 10.13140/2.1.1385.5041).

Nicholas, M. 2008. A survey of archaeometallurgy in commercial archaeology. HMS News: Winter 08/09.
Read the full issue of the newsletter here.

Nicholas, M. 2006. Conference Review, Pots and Pans: Domestic Artefacts of Base-metal HMS News: Winter 06/07.

Dungworth, D. & Nicholas, M. 2004. Caldarium? An antimony bronze used for medieval and post-medieval cast domestic vessels. Historical Metallurgy: 38(1) 24 – 34.

Nicholas M. 2003. Copper alloy objects from seven sites within mid Saxon London (Lundenwic). Swindon: English Heritage (Centre for Archaeology Report 36/2003).

Nicholas M. 2003. Roman crucibles, hearth lining and slag from Usk, Monmouthshire, South WalesSwindon: English Heritage (Centre for Archaeology Report 35/2003).

Nicholas M. 2003. Post-medieval copper alloy casting debris from Whirligig Lane, Taunton, Somerset. Swindon: English Heritage (Centre for Archaeology Report 34/2003).

Nicholas M. 2003. Post medieval metalworking debris from Park Street, Birmingham, West Midlands. Swindon: English Heritage (Centre for Archaeology Report 29/2003).

Spoken ephemera

Beyond typologies: qualitative and statistical analysis of Early Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous alloys from East Anglia

Conference talk at EAA Glasgow 2015. Abstract available here.

Ready, Aim, Fire! The applicability of hand held portable XRF to the characterization of heterogeneous archaeological metals

Poster Presentation at the 40th International Symposium on Archaeometry (May 2014, Los Angeles).

Abstract available on page 217 of the program.

New excavations in the fort (KRG2) and cemetery (KRG3) at Kurgus

Conference talk at the  the Sudan Archaeological Research Society (SARS) Colloquium ‘Recent Archaeological Fieldwork in Sudan’ (May 2014, London).

Talk by myself (on the fort) and Dr Scott Haddow (on the cemetery) on our 2014 excavation season. For more on the sites see the SARS website.

What lies beneath: The analysis of early Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous metalwork

Archaeology Lunchtime Talk (public talk) at the National Museum Wales (January 2014, Cardiff)

Casting Memories: recycled Romans, Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous metalwork and a pXRF

Conference talk at EMASS 2013 (May 2013, Chester)


This talk will look beyond typologies to examine the technological and cultural worlds that enmesh Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous objects and the decisions that construct them.

Between 1987 and 2005 Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service excavated three Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in advance of re-development at RAF Lakenheath (Eriswell, Suffolk). The burials (dated from the late 4th to early 7th Century AD) contained a plethora (minimum number 783) of non-ferrous objects. This paper focuses on the scientific analysis of these as part of a program of post-excavation analysis which seeks to understand the objects in both a technological and archaeological context.

Traditionally analysis on Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous burial assemblages has focussed on cast dress accessories (particularly brooches). The results from these studies show that leaded gunmetals (copper alloys containing both tin and zinc) were most frequently used, suggesting that Anglo-Saxons were recycling Roman metalwork. The ‘mixed’ nature of the metals has led to suppositions that Roman metalwork was not sorted before melting, perhaps indicating a subsistence metallurgy. Yet how secure are these interpretations when they appear to come at the expense of analysis on sheet and more utilitarian metalwork? Analysis of the Eriswell assemblages (primarily using portable X-ray fluorescence [pXRF]) has therefore presented an opportunity to increase our understanding of AngloSaxon metallurgy by placing cast dress accessories in a broader context with the inclusion of a wide variety of sheet metal and utilitarian cast implements.

Casting a wider net: portable X-ray Fluorescence and Anglo-Saxon nonferrous metal work

Conference talk at UK Archaeological Sciences (UKAS) (April 2013, Cardiff)

Abstract available here.

Ælfhild’s Accessories

Poster presentation at The Society for Medieval Archaeology PG Colloquium (November 2012, Cardiff) 

A PDF of the poster is available here.

Stone me! Oxfordshire Archaeology in the Pitt Rivers Museum

Saturday Spotlight (public gallery talk) at the Pitt Rivers Museum (October 2011, Oxford)


From Palaeolithic Iffley to Saxon Standlake the Pitt Rivers Museum contains a wealth of hidden Oxfordshire treasures. This talk presents a personal selection discovered amongst the rich collections of the Museum brought into focus by the John Fell OUP Research Fund project ‘Characterizing the World Archaeology Collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum: Defining Research priorities, 2010-20’. It will be attempted to examine where the future of the Oxfordshire collections lie. Can they contribute to current archaeological research or should we accept that the value of an archaeological archive decreases with time and that their use now lies as brief testament to archaeological history?

Set in stone? Archaeology in the archives

Institute for Archaeology annual conference (April 2010, Southport)


It is widely acknowledged that career progression for the field archaeologist can seem a near impenetrable maze; exciting possibilities confounded by perplexing advice and obscure routes. This paper seeks to examine the effectiveness of the IFA Workplace Learning Bursaries in creating improved pathways with relation to the Museum environment, particularly focusing on the speakers personal experience at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Working in a setting best known for its shrunken heads can seem a world away from the hi-vis milieu of a British construction site; within the first month Polynesian dancing sticks, Naga swords, jade axes and Palaeolithic tools were all encountered. So how did the transition from site hut to store work? How effective were the National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice in structuring the placement? Finally, looking to the future, what potential does the NVQ in Archaeological Practice hold for documenting transferable skills in the historic environment?