Biography: Victoria Sainsbury

Victoria Sainsbury

Victoria Sainsbury was awarded a Rakow Grant for Glass Research. At the time of the award, she was pursuing her doctorate in archaeological science at the University of Oxford (U.K.), and was working on her dissertation on changes in glass sourcing in Britain during the Late Roman and early Anglo-Saxon periods, which she said will “fill a gap in our understanding of the 4th- to 6th-century glass in Britain.”

She is assembling a database consisting of more than 2,500 analyses of British glasses and 2,000 analyses of other European and Mediterranean glasses, to which she will add new microprobe analyses of fragments from Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and Lyminge, Kent.

“In the long term,” she says, “this database will be made available online, ... allowing any glass researcher interested in first-millennium compositions to download and easily use these [analyses] as comparative datasets.”

She also visited the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass to survey “monographs with compositional data which no longer exists in any other format.”

A particular focus of her work is recycling, specifically, “how reliant Britain was on recycling during different periods. During the Roman period, recycling is seen as a key part of industry, but the years of transition to the Anglo-Saxon period remain somewhat more elusive. The traditional view of the ‘Dark Ages’ obscures much of our understanding of post-Roman glass, and yet the use of synthesized scientific data can potentially illuminate these years.”

Sainsbury, who did her undergraduate work in classical studies in Adelaide, received her M.Sc. in archaeological science from Oxford.