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Please Note- we are fully booked for the 2023-2024 academic year. Applications for the next academic year are still being considered, please see details below on how to apply. 

How to Apply

Access to the Duckworth Laboratory is given:

  1. by the Director of the Duckworth Laboratory, who will consider the nature of the proposed research taking into account other past, current and proposed work on the collections, and in the context of the overall research strategy for the Duckworth Laboratory.
  2. for a specific project and for a specific period of time.
  3. to both students and established researchers, although students are required to provide a letter of reference from their supervisors.
  4. upon agreement on the payment of bench fees to be arranged with the Collections Manager.
  5. subject to applicants reading, agreeing to and signing the Terms and Conditions for access to the Duckworth Laboratory.
  6. subject to applicants reading and agreeing with the Department of Archaeology Ethics Guidelines
Internal application form (practicals)
Research application form / Full list of questions on research application form 
Letter of endorsement for student applications

Things to consider when making an application to the Duckworth:

  • We are closed during the months of August and September.
  • That you have a well-formulated research question that is explicit in what you want to accomplish and why the collections of the Duckworth are important to the research. 
  • If you are making an application for destructive sampling - that all sample sizes, methods, feasibility, and previous results are expressly stated. More information about the requirements for destructive sampling can be found here.
  • Prior to sampling for destructive analyses, we require a micro-CT scan of each element to be sampled; this can be arranged with the Collections Manager ( at the researcher’s expense. 
  • Samples cannot be transferred to a third party site without express permission of the Director of the Duckworth Laboratory. 
  • Include an acknowledgement that the work was carried out with the permission of the Duckworth Laboratory in all publications (including online and social media) arising from research that includes material from the collections.

Practical Considerations 
While visitors to the Duckworth Laboratory are provided with as much help and support as possible, we ask you to bear in mind that this must be in the context of the day-to-day workings of the Laboratory and the limitations of the resources available. Please note:

  • All visitors must work within the regulations and Guidelines of the University Health and Safety policy. Please see the University Health and Safety Policy and Guidance pages for more information.
  • The Duckworth Laboratory is normally open for study between the hours of 10am and 5pm, however, building works may be carried out at any time limiting access. 
  • We are unable to provide accommodation for visitors, who are expected to make their own arrangements. Details of accommodation and other aspects of visiting the University of Cambridge are available from the University’s website and the Visit Cambridge website. 
  • All arrangements for visits must be agreed in advance, and visitors should note that there will be various times in the year when the facilities are closed.
  • The use of our 3D digital imaging (surface scanning) and reproduction (3D printing) may be available in consultation with the Collections Manager and will incur additional costs. 
  • Although conditional permission can be given for practical reasons (grant applications, etc.), the final permission will not be granted until the confirmation of dates of visit.

Bench Fees and Other Costs

For details of bench fees and related costs please see our Laboratory Fees webpage.


How do I make an enquiry about collections in the Duckworth? 
For all queries please email We will normally respond within four weeks.

How do I apply to access the collections in the Duckworth? 
Applications for access to study, scan and/or photograph material in the Duckworth Laboratory are generally processed weekly with the exception of August and September when the collections are shut. Applicants will usually be informed of the outcome of their application weeks after it has been reviewed, though this can be longer due to the number of applications received.

Applications to carry out destructive sampling of material in the Duckworth Laboratory will be considered three times a year: at the end of January, May and October. Applicants will be informed of the timeframe involved in considering their application within four weeks of the application being considered.

What is the decision process for applications to the Duckworth? 
All applications are reviewed by the Director of the Duckworth and the Collections Manager, who may seek advice of the Duckworth Management Committee or other colleagues. The Director’s decision will be based on the following criteria:

1. The request should not duplicate previous research work carried out in this collection.
2. The scientific, historical, and cultural significance of the collections from which samples are requested.
3. The needs of future users of the collections.
4. Any cultural and ethical issues, including the interests of relevant communities.
5. The demonstrated ability of the researcher to perform the work.
6. The demonstrated value of the research to the broader research community.

During the review period of your application, you will not hear from us unless we need to contact you about dates, collection concerns, or other matters that may arise during this time. 

Can I alter my application once I have submitted it? 
Should you need to alter your application after it has been submitted, please contact us as soon as possible at If the changes are significant, this may require a re-submission and delay the status of your application, although we will do what we can to accommodate the changes.

What are bench fees for? 
The Duckworth Laboratory charges bench fees for research visits, and reserves the right to make other appropriate charges where necessary. We charge modest bench fees from all visitors, which are used to offset a portion of the costs the Laboratory incurs with research visits. These are related to the staff time needed to process applications, search for requested information, retrieve specimens from display and/or storage, to conserve and photograph them, and to supervise the research visits when these take place. If the work involves any form of sampling and/or CT scanning, both of which require extra time from Laboratory staff, further fees apply. Where appropriate, researchers are requested to make provision in grant applications for funding to meet facilitation fees (or in large-scale projects for the addition of conservation materials).  

Information on bench fees and other associated costs can be found below.

After your application is processed, the Collections Manager will contact you with your payment requirements which can then be paid here. You must enter the amount the Collections Manager has quoted you in the fee box on the website. 

What do I do when I arrive? 
Please announce yourself at the front desk and sign-in to the log-in book. Duckworth Laboratory staff will give you an induction to the building, review health and safety procedures, and take you to the collections. 

What support can I expect during my visit? 
During your visit we will:

  • Provide you with access to the premises of the Duckworth Laboratory. 
  • Provide an adequate area for you to work.
  • Help you locate material in our collections.
  • Retrieve archival information on specific material if available in the Laboratory’s Archives.
  • Package any material due for CT scanning.
  • Help you locate relevant literature.

What do we expect from our visitors?
We expect all visitors to comply with the terms and conditions of the Duckworth Laboratory, as well as our Health & Safety regulations.
We expect all visitors to provide the Laboratory with:

  • a copy of the data collected on material from the Duckworth. 
  • copies of any images (photographs, surface scans and CT scans) taken; you will be asked to complete a copyright form for images taken of any material from the Duckworth collections, as the Laboratory retains copyright of all images of its collections.
  • a copy of any thesis or publication written in which those data and images are used.
  • any sample material that is left over from destructive analyses.

Failure to comply with these requests may result in refusal of access to the collections in the future.
We also expect researchers working on the collections to help us enhance their value through contributing to their history and care, so you will be asked to:

  • Provide us with a record of collections you re-identify or re-interpret.
  • Record what material you look at and provide copies of raw data such as skeletal inventories. 
  • Report breaks or other damage noted or incurred during your visit to the Collections Manager.

We are interested in filming in the Duckworth, is this possible? 

Filming by any third-party organisation is subject to approval by the Director of the Duckworth Laboratory and the Head of Department and may be subject to fees. Please consult with the Collections Manager, Dr Trish Biers via, in the first instance.