Susan La Niece


+44 (0)20 7323 8226  

Susan La Niece undertakes the scientific examination of non-ferrous metalwork, to inform Museum research, gallery labels and catalogues. The scientific techniques she uses include optical microscopy, SEM, radiography, XRF and XRD.

Her specialist area of study is metalworking techniques of all periods, both forming and decorative, with particular interest in colouring, plating and patination of metal.

Susan also carries out Treasure analysis and authenticity examinations for the Museum and is the departmental contact for new gallery planning.

Current projects

Scientific examination of:

Technology of Islamic metalwork 

Islamic and European astrolabes

Bronze Age metalwork

Anglo-Saxon metalwork (Staffordshire Hoard)

Roman surgical instruments 

Previous projects

Limoges enamels


Casting and forming of copper alloys

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

Society of Jewellery Historians, committee member

Recent publications

La Niece, S., Ward, R., Hook, D., and Craddock, P., 'Medieval Islamic Copper Alloys', in Scientific Research on Ancient Asian Metallurgy, eds. Jett, P. et al, Archetype, London (2012) , pp. 248-254

S. La Niece, S. Röhrs, and B. McLeod (ed.),The Heritage of ‘Maitre Alpais’, BM Research publication 182, British Museum Press, London (2010).

S. La Niece, ‘Islamic copper-based metalwork: technical investigation and conservation issues’ in Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean, ed. C. Rozeik, A. Roy and D. Saunders, International Institute for Conservation, London (2010).

S. La Niece, 2010. Roman gold- and silversmithing and the Hoxne treasure, in Catherine Johns The Hoxne Late Roman Treasure. Gold jewellery and silver plate. BM Press

S. La Niece, S. Röhrs, D. Thornton and A. Simpson, Limoges painted enamels: evidence for specialist copper-smithing workshops:  British Museum Technical Research Bulletin, Vol 3 (2010) pp.. 13-22

S. La Niece, D. Hook, P. Craddock (eds) Metals and Mines. (London, Archetype Press, 2007)

S. La Niece, ‘The Winchester Hoard: A Find of Unique Iron Age Gold Jewellery from Southern England’. J.D.Hill, A.J. Spence, S. Worrell, The Antiquaries Journal, 84 (2004), pp. 1-22

S. La Niece, ‘Medieval Islamic Metal Technology’, in Jett, P and Douglas, J. G. (eds.) Scientific Research in the Field of Asian Art: Proceedings of the First Forbes Symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art, (London, Archetype Press, 2003), pp. 90-96

S. La Niece, ‘Polychromy and Egyptian Bronze: New Evidence for Artificial Coloration’. F Shearman, J Taylor, A Simpson, Studies in Conservation, 47 (2002), pp. 95-108

S. La Niece, ‘Niello before the Romans’, Jewellery Studies, 8 (1998), pp. 49-56