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Aaron N. Shugar

Aaron N. Shugar, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Mellon Professorship
(716) 878-5025
Campus Address: Rockwell Hall 230


Ph.D., University College London 

M.S., University of Sheffield

B.A., York University


Aaron N. Shugar joined the department in January 2006 as our new conservation scientist, focusing on inorganic chemistry. Aaron comes to us from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, where he was a visiting scientist. He also served as Co-Director of the Archaeometallurgical Laboratory at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. With a Ph.D. in archaeometallurgy from University College London, Aaron’s work in the analysis of archaeological metals and glass has taken him around the globe, from the Middle East to Europe to Central America. You can even see him on the Discovery Channel, investigating the technology of 9th-century Samurai swords and on the History Channel's "Bible Battles".

Dr. Shugar's main interest is in historic technologies and has led two workshops here in the department on traditional smelting techniques with Professor Thornton as well as helping to present a hands-on seminar to create Damascus steel. He has also made strides with the science curriculum adding hand-held XRF techniques as well as 3-D imaging scanning technology to help students gain a better understanding of the materials they are working with.

In addition to his appointment here in the department, Dr. Shugar is a Guest Scientist at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and a member of the Graduate Faculty at the University of Toronto. He is also a former Research Associate with the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and has served as the President of The Society for Archaeological Sciences.

Recent Publications

P. Jane Sirois, Jessica S. Johnson, Aaron Shugar, Jennifer Poulin, Odile Madden. “Pesticide Contamination: Working Together to Find a Common Solution” in: Canadian Conservation Institute. Preserving Aboriginal Heritage: Technical and Traditional Approaches(edited by Carole Dignard, Kate Helwig, Janet Mason, Kathy Nanowin and Thomas Stone). Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Conservation Institute, 2008 (In Press).

Shugar, A., and Gohm, C. J. “Developmental Trends in Chalcolithic Copper Metallurgy: A Radiometric Perspective” in: Culture, Chronology and the Chalcolithic: Theory and Transition Council of British Research in the Levant, Edited by J. Lovell and Y. M. Rowan, 2008 (In Press).

Simmons, S.E. and Shugar, A.N. “Copper Metallurgy: Technology and Economy" in late Postclassic-Spanish Colonial Period Lamanai, Belize: Belize Archaeological Symposium Proceedings 2007. 

Notis, M., Shugar, A., Herman, D., and Ariel, D. “Chemical composition of the Isfiya and Qumran coin hoards” in Archaeological Chemistry: Analytical Techniques and Archaeological Interpretation The American Chemical Society 968, Edited by Glascock, M, R.J Speakman and R.S. Popelka-Filcoff pp. 258-274, 2007.

Thornton, J.T., Williams, S. and Shugar A. "Smelting Enriched Bog Ore in a Low Shaft Bloomery" in: The Rockbridge Bloomery Reports, 2007.

Recent Presentations

2008 Poster: Simmons, S. and Shugar A. “Archaeomeetallurgy at Lamanai, Belize: Maya Technological Innovation in Late Postclassic-Spanish Colonial Times” at WAC in Ireland. 

2008 Posters at AIC Annual Conference in Denver, CO co-authored with MA students. 1. Cynthia Albertson –“Surface Cleaning: Analysis of Sponge Abrasion on Paintings” 2. Katrina Bartlett – “Investigation of the Effects of Aging Verdigris in Artist Prepared Paint” 3. Robert Krueger – “The Corrosion of Stainless Steel in Public Fountains” 4. Stephanie Porto – “The Effectiveness of Two Cationic Fixatives in Stabilizing Water-Sensitive Dye-Based Inks on Paper” 5. Ariel O’Connor – “The Analysis of 17th and 18th Century Archaeological Glass Trade Beads from Old Fort Niagara” 

2008 Posters at 37th Archaeometry Symposium in Siena, Italy co-authored with MA students. 1. Ariel O’Connor – “The Analysis of 18th Century Archaeological Glass Trade Beads From Fort Niagara” 2. Cynthia Albertson – “Investigations into the micro/nano abrasion of Sponge Cleaning on Paintings” 3. Josiah Wagener – “Experimental Archaeometallurgy: Re-casting Maya bronze axes”

2008 Simmons, S. and Shugar A. “Archaeometallurgy at Lamanai Belize: Recent Discoveries and Interpretations” at the 2008 SAA conference in Vancouver

2008 Aaron N. Shugar and Laura Richardson “The Production of Copper at El Coyote Honduras: Processing and Control” at the 2008 SAA conference in Vancouver.

2007 P. Jane Sirois, Jessica S. Johnson, Aaron Shugar, Jennifer Poulin, Odile Madden “Pesticide Contamination: Working Together to Find a Common Solution” at Symposium 2007 Ottawa, Canada. 

2007 Presented issues related to pesticide use in museums at the EPA Organic Pesticide Laboratory, Ft Meade 

2007 Poster: Rosen, S. and Shugar, A. “Assays in Understanding Sickle Gloss” SAA 2007 Austin, Texas

Recent Invited Lectures

XRF Detection of Heavy Metal Pesticides in Archaeological and Anthropological Artifacts. Denver X-ray Conference 2008 Cultural Heritage Session.

Keynote speaker at the 2008 XRF workshop “Hand-held XRF in Museums: Applications and Quantification for Anthropology and Natural History Collections”, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL.

The Archaeometallurgy of Lamanai Belize: Evidence for Contact Period Metal Processing Aaron Shugar, Scott Simmons, Darcy Wiewall at Microscopy and Microanalysis 2007, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Heavy metal pesticide analysis using handheld XRF: Issues related to calibration and depth penetration A. Shugar, C. Rattle, L. Homberger, and J. Sirios. Field Museum’s Mobile XRF in Museum Studies Symposium. June 2007, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL.

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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039