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Department of Archaeology

Staff

Dr Benjamin Roberts, B.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D.,

Personal web page

(email at benjamin.roberts@durham.ac.uk)

I completed my PhD on the Origins and Early Development of Metallurgy in Western Europe at the University of Cambridge in early 2007. I subsequently worked until mid 2012 at the British Museum as the Curator for the European Bronze Age collections. This was a wide ranging role which, in addition to the existing museum collections, also encompassed the recording of Bronze Age hoards found by metal-detecting in England and the researching and co-writing of 41 programmes in the British Museum/BBC Radio 4 series and accompanying book A History of the World in 100 Objects.  

My research focuses on understanding the transmission of new objects and technologies in northwest and southeast Europe from the Neolithic to the Early Iron Age. I am currently collaborating on a major AHRC funded project The Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia, an international and interdisciplinary project exploring copper production sites in Serbia which have produced the earliest evidence for metallurgy in the world. I am also involved with numerous smaller projects in Britain ranging from a Beaker/Early Bronze Age barrow (Reffley Wood) to a Bronze Age shipwreck (Salcombe) to a Late Iron Age hoard (Salisbury).

I am also interested in the impact of Treasure Act (1996, 2002) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the promotion of archaeology  in museums and the media. My teaching covers courses on Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age Europe as well as on Museum Archaeology.

Research Interests

  • Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Iron Age archaeology of Britain and western Europe
  • Origins and early development of metal
  • Cultural connections from the spanning Europe, North Africa and Asia c. 5000–500 BC
  • Archaeology, Museums and Popular Communication

Teaching Areas

  • Field Archaeology of Britain

  • Bronze Age Britain in a European Context
  • Discovering World Prehistory
  • MA Museum and Artefact Studies
  • Prehistoric Europe: from Foragers to State Formation

Indicators of Esteem

Publications

Articles: magazine

  • Roberts, B.W. & Veysey, C. (2011). Trading Places. British Museum Magazine 70: 44-45.

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Related Links

Selected Grants

  • 2012: Co-Investigator on AHRC funded The Rise of metallurgy in Eurasia: Emergence, organisation and consumption of early metal in the Balkans project. This involves the excavation and post-excavation study of metal production areas at Belovode, Jarmovac and Plocnik in Serbia. Collaborators include colleagues at UCL(-Q) as well as at National Museum Belgrade, University of Tübingen, Roman-Germanic Commission (RGK) and the German Mining Museum in Bochum (DBM). Research by M. Radivojević et al. (2010) at Belovode revealed cop-per smelting at c. 5000 BC making it the earliest known metallurgy in the world. (£532,159)
  • 2011: AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Award between the School of Humanities,University of Southampton and the British Museum. Polished axes: object biographies and the writing of world prehistories. (£54,966).
  • 2010: Armour or Glamour?: understanding Bronze Age shields in Britain. Awarded funding for the making of a replica Bronze Age shield by the British Museum Research Board (£3,600)
  • 2010: Post-excavation analysis of the Mesolithic, Late Neolithic and Bronze Age barrow excavations at Reffley Wood, Norfolk. Awarded funding for radiocarbon dating by the British Museum Research Board. (£4,230)