Duncan Hook


+44 (0)20 7323 8117


Duncan obtained a first degree in chemistry after which he spent a year carrying out compositional research on medieval copper alloy artefacts. He now specialises in the scientific analysis of a variety of inorganic materials, especially metals from all periods (gold, silver and copper alloys), ceramics and rocks and Treasure.

He is responsible for several pieces of analytical equipment housed in the department, such as X-ray fluorescence, inductively coupled plasma – atomic emission spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

His current interests include most aspects of metallurgy, virtually from the earliest times until the present day, and has spent many years analysing material especially from the European Bronze Age, the Classical World and the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods. He has studied a wide range of artefacts including tools and weapons, coins and medals, and jewellery and Treasure.

Duncan also has an interest in the scientific examination of fakes and forgeries, and all aspects of outreach.

Current projects

Snettisham Iron Age hoards: technology and analysis

Technology of Islamic metalwork

Roman surgical instruments

Provenancing of Egyptian limestone stelae

Previous projects

Composition and technology of Italian Bronze Age/Early Iron Age copper alloy artefacts.

Analysis of Roman surgical instruments.

Late Bonze Age metalwork from Runnymede Bridge.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Member of the Historical Metallurgy Society (HMS)

Recent publications

Masson-Berghoff, A., Pernicka, E., Hook, D., Meek, A. 2018: (Re)sources: Origins of metals in Late Period Egypt. Journal or Archaeological Science: Reports 21: 318-339.

D. R. Hook, ‘Inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and its role in numismatic studies’, in W.A. Oddy & M. R. Cowell (eds.), Metallurgy in Numismatics, 4, (Royal Numismatic Society, London, 1998), pp. 237-252

D. R. Hook, ‘Provenancing Rhenish stoneware using neutron activation analysis’, in D. R. M. Gaimster (ed.) German stoneware 1200 – 1900 (BMP, London, 1997),pp. 344-353

D. R. Hook, ‘The scientific analysis of the copper-alloy lamps: aspects of classical alloying practices’,with P.T. Craddock in D.M. Bailey, A Catalogue of the Lamps in the British Museum. IV Lamps of Metal and Stone, and Lampstands (British Museum Press, London, 1996), pp. 144-164

D. R. Hook, Trade and Discovery: The Scientific Study of Artefacts from Post-Medieval Europe and Beyond, with D. R. M. Gaimster (eds.), Occasional Paper 109, (British Museum Press, London, 1995).

D. R. Hook, ‘The early production of copper-alloys in south-east Spain’, with I.C. Freestone, N. D., Meeks, P. T., Craddock, and A. Moreno Onorato, in E. Pernicka and G. A. Wagner (eds.), Archaeometry '90 (Birkhauser Verlag, Basel, 1991), pp. 65-76