Joanne Dyer


+44 (0)20 7323 8753


Since joining the Museum in 2009, Joanne has mainly worked on the study of ancient polychrome objects using a variety of analytical techniques, in support of the British Museum’s Ancient Polychromy project. She also specializes in the use of vibrational spectroscopic techniques (FTIR/Raman) for the identification of the materials encountered in painted surfaces.

Joanne originally trained as a PhD chemist/spectroscopist, obtaining her PhD from the University in Nottingham in 2003. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University in New York, she worked with Paul Whitmore at the Art Conservation Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh from 2007-2009.

Most recently, Joanne took part in a European project, CHARISMA, with a particular emphasis on the development of new optimized methodologies for both the acquisition and processing of Multispectral images, in order to improve their reproducibility and comparability both within and between institutions. 

Whilst continuing her interest in the development of non-invasive imaging techniques, she currently focuses on the investigation of on organic colorants with particular focus on dyes and pigments made from natural sources in Antiquity.

Current projects

Ancient Polychromy

Previous projects

CHARISMA (Cultural Heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures: Synergy for a Multidisciplinary Approach to conservation and restoration)

Ancient Egyptian funerary portraits from Faiyum.

The reassessment of anoxic storage of ethnographic rubber objects in the BM collections.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Andrew W. Mellon Senior Research Fellow 2013 – 2014, Department of Scientific Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Awarded in order to carry out research into the application of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay) for the investigation of organic binding media in ancient polychrome works of art.

Member of the International Council of Museums – Committee for Conservation, (ICOM-CC).

Member of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA).

Recent publications

Dyer, J., Tamburini, D., O’Connell, E.R., Harrison, A. 2018: A multispectral imaging approach integrated into the study of Late Antique textiles from Egypt. PLoS ONE 13(10), e0204699.

Ancient encaustic: An experimental exploration of technology, ageing behaviour and approaches to analytical investigation. R.J. Stacey, J. Dyer, C. Mussell, A. Lluveras-Tenorio, M.P. Colombini, Celia Duce, Jacopo La Nasa, Emma Cantisani, S. Prati, G. Sciutto, R. Mazzeo, S. Sotiropoulou, F. Rosi, C. Miliani, L. Cartechini, J. Mazurek and M. Schilling, Microchemical Journal 2018, 138 472-487.

The identification of lac as a pigment in ancient Greek polychromy - The case of a Hellenistic oinochoe from Canosa di Puglia. J. Dyer, D. Tamburini and S. Sotiropoulou, Dyes and Pigments, 2018, 149, 122-132.

The characterisation of shellac resin by flow injection and liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionisation and mass spectrometry. D. Tamburini, J, Dyer and I. Bonadice, Scientific Reports, 2017, 7, 14784.

A technical step forward in the integration of visible-induced luminescence imaging methods for the study of ancient polychromy. J. Dyer and S. Sotiropoulou, Heritage, Science 2017, 5, 24-45.

Technical Examination of the Waddesdon Bequest: Recent Discoveries, Future Avenues. A.S. Meek, D. Ling, F. Shearman, J. Dyer, M. van Bellegem and S. La Niece in A Rothschild Renaissance : a new look at the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum, London : British Museum, 2017, 155-215.

Polychromy in Roman Egypt: A study of a limestone sculpture of the Egyptian god Horus. J. Dyer, E. R. O’Connell and A. Simpson, The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin, 8, 2014, 93-103.

Multispectral Imaging in Reflectance and Photo-induced Luminescence modes: A User Manual. J.Dyer, G. Verri and J. Cupitt, 2013, (Version 1.0) published online

A study and conservation of four ancient Egyptian funerary portraits: provenance, conservation history and structural treatment. N. Newman, L. Harrison, D. Thomas, J. Dyer and J. Taylor, The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin, 7, 2013, 1-13.