Dr Alan G. Massey
Alan Massey obtained his BSc, PhD (in 2
years!) and DSc
degrees from Liverpool University. After a postdoctoral period in
Cambridge, he was appointed as Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry in
Queen Mary College, University of London and moved to Loughborough in
1971. He retired in 1995 and is now an Honorary Research Fellow in the
Before his retirement,
Alan’s research interests were in boron sub-halides and organometallic
chemistry based mainly on perfluoro-aromatics e.g.heterocycles of S, Se,
Te, Si,Ge, Sn, Pb,Sb & Bi. The increased stability of the perfluoro-aromatic
derivatives over their hydrogen analogies allowed, for example, the
direct synthesis of the di-bismuth tryptycene Bi2(C6F4)3:
This compound has recently been shown to
have perfect propeller symmetry by electron diffraction (carried out in
Edinburgh University -
retirement Alan has pursued his interest in archaeology, notably by
using an extensive range of analytical techniques to investigate the
contents of witch bottles. His work on the contents
of a recently discovered intact witch bottle was featured on the cover of the
July 2009 edition of
Archaeology and was also reported in
New Scientist and the
Discovery channel website, amongst others.
He has made three appearances on
television and done two radio interviews on this topic. He also uses
chemical and microscopy to study flint tools and artefacts (left);
he has 20,000 examples.
Alan has published about 170 papers, reviews
Recent Archaeological Publications:
The Contents of Two Early Victorian
Veterinary Medicine Bottles, A. Massey, M. Edgar and E.J. O’Neill (to be
Urine to Navel Fluff: the First Complete
Witch Bottle, B. Hoggard, A. Massey and G. Morgan, British Archaeology,
July-Aug, 2009, 7.
A Miniature Witch Bottle?, P.M. King and A.
Massey, Current Archaeology, 197, 2005, 214.
Stony Stare (a Possible Flint Carving of a
“Feline” Face), A. Massey, British Archaeology, Mar-April, 2005, 35.
The Felmersham Witch Bottle, B. Hoggard, A.
Massey, P. Stone and A. Wilson, Bedfordshire Country Life, Summer 2004,
Spooky or What? A. Massey, Period House, Nov
A Witch Bottle from Dorset, A. Massey, R.M.
Smith and T.A.D. Smith, Education in Chemistry, 40, 2003, 97.
The Reigate Witch Bottle, A. Massey and T.
Edmonds, Current Archaeology, 169, 2000, 34.
Main Group Chemistry, A.G. Massey, Ellis Horwood, 1990; Second Edition, Wiley, 2000.
The Chemistry of Copper, Silver and Gold,
A.G. Massey, N.R. Thompson, B.F.G Johnson and R. Davis, Pergamon Texts
in Inorganic Chemistry, Vol 17, 1973
Boron, A.G. Massey, Mills and Boon, 1972
The Typical Elements, A.G. Massey, Penguin
Inorganic Chemistry in Non-aqueous Solvents, A.K. Holliday and A.G. Massey, Pergamon Press, 1965.