The ancient world was colourful – people processed certain raw materials to use them as colourants and their material qualities and provenance mattered. Yet, little is known about where these materials came from and where they were processed: some might have been broadly available, others rare and traded far. By combining geology and archaeology, I investigate material provenance, processing technology, trading, and use of ancient colourants. I am particularly curious about the interaction across technologies and craft industries, trade networks and cultural relations. To better understand the cultural significance of colour in ancient economic and technological developments, my ongoing work at the Austrian Archaeological Institute seeks to develop a much-needed reference database, a proper toolset and a first layout of colour networks.