When Robin began his study of glass found in archaeological excavations in Scotland in 1978, reliable
printed references were almost non-existent. Fortunately, over the last twenty years, a
comprehensive and accurate documentary history of the Scottish glass industry since c1610 has
been published in two volumes by Dr Jill Turnbull, The Scottish Glass Industry 1601-1750 (pub 2001)
and From Goblets to Gaslights 1750-2006 (pub 2017) Part of Robin’s aims are to relate the artefacts
excavated to that history. To that end he has set out to study and report on as many glass
assemblages as possible.
While England had a successful indigenous glass industry from the 13 th century, there is, as yet, no
evidence of such in Scotland before the first decade of the 17 th century; accordingly, one of his aims
is to find out where earlier glass may have originated.
A particular interest over the last decade or so is in window glass and its dating by composition.
Window glass, particularly over the last 300 years, was much more rigidly controlled in terms of
composition than utilitarian glass. Different chemical compositions were introduced and these were
modified from time to time by changes in production methods and it is possible to roughly date
window glass by chemical analysis. It is also possible to analyse in-situ window glass to assess date
and this has significant benefits in terms of conservation. There are numerous methods of analysing
glass, many of which are destructive and not suitable for in-situ window glass work. However,
enough can be learned from using a portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF) to roughly date
the glass. For example, analytical surveys have been carried out at Newhailes House, Musselburgh
and Traquair House, Innerleithen with interesting results. In addition to reporting on excavated glass
Robin would also be interested in analysing in-situ window glass that might be worthy of