This special issue of Corrosion Engineering Science and Technology is dedicated to the study of corrosion of objects from historical sites. The issue contains contributions from the 2009 EUROCORR session on Corrosion of Archaeological and Heritage Artefacts organised by the European Federation of Corrosion's working party and commissioned articles on other key issues. The objective is to give the reader a broad understanding of corrosion of ancient materials, for the most part metal but also glass. Articles shed light on a range of analytical approaches related to the study of the complex systems that make up historical artifacts. In order to arrive at an understanding of the nanometric organisation of rust layers and interphases, such studies must be approached on a macroscopic scale. Techniques used include; macrophotography, synchrotron radiation and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) that ensure results that are both exhaustive and representative of particular observations. This issue demonstrates the wealth of approaches possible in the study of the corrosion of ancient materials.