Dr Thilo Rehren’s Bio

Dr Thilo Rehren’s Bio

Thilo Rehren is Professor for Archaeological Materials and Technologies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in London. As part of this new role, he established a new MSc programme in the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials which draws an international audience, with many graduates continuing into research programmes. In 2006, he received one of the inaugural Provost’s Teaching Awards for his innovative and engaging teaching. He coordinated several major European and British research awards, and strengthened collaboration between UCL and industry.

For the last five years (2011-2016) he was seconded to the role of Director of UCL Qatar to establish it as a centre of excellence in Archaeology, Museology and Conservation Studies as well as Library and Information Studies. Here, he oversaw the establishment of four new Masters’ programmes, an active Public Engagement programme, a very successful Continuing Professional Development portfolio and a highly competitive research environment, attracting substantial funding from QNRF and beyond.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, and has taught at several other universities, including the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), Northwest University (Xi’an, China) and the University of Arizona, Tucson (USA). Prior to his role at UCL he was a senior research scientist at the German Mining Museum in Bochum (1990 to 1999), specializing in ancient metal production.

Research Interests

The primary production of metals, glass and technical ceramics underpins the material life of every culture of the last 5,000 years or so. My main research focusses on the reconstruction of the processes with which these materials were made (@reverse engineering’), in order to understand the cultural specific aspects that differ from one culture to the other. Through this I hope to trace the flow of information, inspiration and innovation among the different cultures and periods. My main regional areas of interest are the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Late Roman period, and the Arab and Islamic Worlds through to Central Asia, and into China. I am LPI on three NPRP grants, focussing on ancient quarrying in Sudan, an Iron Age metallurgy in the Arabian Peninsula, and on Byzantine and Islamic glass production, respectively. 


1984 MSc in Economic Geology, Technical University of Clausthal, Germany

1988 PhD in Petrology and Volcanology, University of Freiburg, Germany

1997 Higher Doctorate (Dr-Ing. habil.) in Materials Science / Archaeometallurgy, Technical University Freiberg, Germany.

A Selection of Dr Thilo Rehren's Publications