Contact Professor Andrew Shortland


Professor Shortland is Professor of Archaeological Science and Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute, one of the ten or so Centres that make up Cranfield Defence and Security, one of the Schools of Cranfield University. He was previously also Programme Manager for the Forensic Modular Master Programme, with overall responsibility for its MSc themes, but is now Director of Research for the School giving him overall responsibility for research activity and 160+ research students

After reading a BA in geology at the University of Oxford, Professor Shortland spent a year working in the Oxford Earth Sciences Department using Pb isotopic techniques to provenance copper and bronze objects from the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. Exploring the cross over between science and archaeology further, he continued at Oxford to read for a masters’ degree in Prehistoric Archaeology, before being recruited into the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall to work for six years in a series of security related posts. On leaving the MoD, Andrew returned to Oxford to undertake research in Egyptology, receiving a DPhil for work on vitreous materials from the site of Amarna in Middle Egypt. After a number of years as Research Fellow and then University Research Lecturer at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology in Oxford. Andrew moved to Cranfield University in 2005 and established the Centre for Archaeological and Forensic Analysis. He took over as Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute in 2016.

Current activities

Professor Shortland leads Cranfield Forensic Institute which specialises in a wide range of niche forensic subjects including ballistics, explosives, failure analysis, imaging, digital forensics, CBRN and aspects of security and intelligence. His own research group consists of archaeologists and anthropologists who employ their skills in a whole range of historical and/or defence related fields. The group works routinely on the location, recovery and identification of individuals in combination with police, MoD and charitable organisations. It also provides scientific support for MoD archaeologists working on MoD land the UK and elsewhere. 

Professor Shortland’s work concentrates in two areas. The first involves the identification and interpretation of material culture from the ancient and historical worlds. He is particularly involved in the analysis of glass, glaze and ceramics of a wide range of dates from the fourth millennium BC to the nineteenth century AD. Beyond vitreous materials, he is involved in the application of science more widely to questions arising from art history and archaeology and increasingly forensics. Much of his work involves using the latest techniques to answer questions about valuable or historically important objects. Typically, these involve queries about provenance, date, identification of past restoration or conservation and even the detection of deliberate fakes and forgeries. Professor Shortland uses a wide variety of different analytical techniques in his work including SEM-EDS, microprobe, XRF, XRD, Raman, LA-ICPMS, CT and optical microscopy. 

Secondly, Professor Shortland is increasingly interested in the fate of archaeological and historical sites, objects and museums in conflict zones. This work involves liaison with the military and the development of research, training and education for armed forces in theatre and at home.


  • Universities throughout the world (Oxford, Harvard, Leuven, Leiden, Berlin, etc.) 
  • Major museums (Ashmolean, British Museum, Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard Art Museums, National Museums Scotland, etc.) 
  • Auction houses (Bonhams, Sothebys, Chrisities) 
  • The Ministry of Defence, various military units 
  • Private clients.


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Conference Papers