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Dr Ruth Siddall
Huxley Building
UCL, Gower Street
  • UCL Student Mediator
  • VP: Education
  • Provost and Vice Provost Offices
Research Summary

My research interests are in applying techniques routinely used in the geological sciences to further the understanding and materiality of cultural and archaeological materials derived from rocks and minerals. These include the analysis and understanding of the use of stone in architecture, ceramics (pottery and cementitious materials) and pigments. 

My current research, in collaboration with Jo Volley, Gary Woodley and Onya McCausland at UCL Slade School of Fine Art is engaged with the analysis of ochres as pigments within the scope of the project ‘Turning Landscape Into Colour” and through the “Pigment Timeline” project which will construct an actual and virtual journey through UCL’s academic and research departments via their uses of and connections with artists’s pigments both spatially and temporally.  

I am involved in a number of ongoing projects which aim to identify the range of pigments and supports used in Roman British wall paintings over several sites (with Dr Rebecca Piovesan, University of Padua). With Dr Duygu Camurcuoglu, we are analysing wall coverings and pigments used in PPNB wall paintings at Cathöyük in Turkey. In addition, an ongoing research theme is with the Pigmentum Project (with Nick Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin) which aims to characterise and archive the range of artists’ pigments used globally.

Other recent projects include the analysis of stones and cements used on Westminster Abbey’s Cosmatesque Pavement, and the marbles and other decorative stones used in the construction of the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth (with the American School of Classical Studies Athens). Also at Corinth, I am working on the characterisation of cements an mortars used through the exposed occupation levels of the site. This work will be presented  via the EU-funded HYDRΩMED, hosted by the Université Aix Marseille, which studies engineering and waterworks in the 1st millenium BC Mediterranean. I have also worked on a number of archaeological surveys in Greece and the Aegean. 

My interests in petrology are directed to the study of the urban geology of London’s built environment and the a socio-historical use of stone as a building material; ‘psychogeologies’. I am developing a web-based archive with geologist Dave Wallis, ‘London Pavement Geology’ which records London’s building stones but with more down to earth applications within the fields of architectural conservation, sustainable heritage and Earth sciences education. 

Teaching Summary

My teaching has predominantly been focussed on mineralogy and petrology along with structural geology at all scales. I also teach postgraduate and CPD short courses on archaeological and art historical materials. 

Taught Modules at UCL

GEOL1002 Petrology to Petrogenesis 0.5 cu (Course organiser from 1995 to 2012)

GEOL2003 Geological Field Techniques 0.5 cu (Course organiser from 1995-2007)

GEOL2027 Structural Geology & Tectonics 0.5 cu (Co-contributor 2005 to 2013)

GEOLB276 Geological Archaeology 0.5 cu (course organiser 2000-2006)

C007 Global Tectonics 0.5 cu (contributor 1995-2000; course organiser 2000-2007)

GEOL006/3042 Independent Mapping Project 1 cu (course organiser 2001-2006, 2012-13)

GEOLC014 Geoscience Laboratory Techniques 1 cu (contributor 2001-2006)

GEOLM021 Continental Magmatism 0.5 cu (course developer and co-contributor 2002-2009)

GEOL3030 Active Tectonics 1 cu (contributor 2006 to 2013)

ARCLG123 Conservation: Materials Science 1 cu (contributor 2000 to date)

Short Courses

• 2007: University of Fribourg. The Identification of Pigments Materials in Art and Archaeology. (1 week)

• 2010 to date: British School at Athens. Introduction to Ceramic Petrology. (2 weeks)

• 2016-17: UCL Qatar. Artists’ Pigments: history, technology and an introduction to analysis. (1 week)

01-OCT-2013 UCL Student Mediator VPESA UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2008 – 30-SEP-2013 Dean of Students Dean of Students UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2008 – 30-SEP-2013 Senior Lecturer in Geology Earth Sciences UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2006 – 30-SEP-2008 Deputy Dean of Students Dean of Students UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-1995 – 30-SEP-2008 Lecturer in Geology Earth Sciences UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1993 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Geoscience University College London
1989 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Geology University of Birmingham
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