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Durham University

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Staff Profile

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

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Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology

(email at

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 was co-Investigator 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 the co-Director of the HLF funded and crowdfunded Barrowed Time project in northwest England in collaboration with DigVentures and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. 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.

I would be interested in supervising research postgraduate students on Copper and Bronze Age Atlantic Europe as well as Museum Archaeology.

Research Groups

Department of 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

  • Archaeology of Britain

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


Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

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

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • European Prehistory:


Indicators of Esteem

  • 2014: AHRC Peer Review College - Translating Cultures:
  • 2014: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA):
  • 2011: Bronze Age Scotland panel for Scottish Archaeological Research Frameworks (SCARF):
  • 2011: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (FSA Scot):
  • 2010: Member of the board of the BOAT 1550 BC Bronze Age Maritime Communities : EU funded (Interreg IV A ‘2 Seas’ programme) Educational and Museum Exhibition project exploring the depth and breadth of cross-channel connections around 1550 BC. At the core is a travelling museum exhibition at Boulogne-sur-mer (France), Velzeke (Belgium) and Dover (UK) (2012-2014)
  • 2007: Lecturer for National Arts and Decorative Arts Society (NADFAS):
  • 2004: Associate Member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists (AIFA):

Selected Grants

  • 2020: Did British Tin Sources and Trade Make Bronze Age Europe? (£309084.52 from Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2012: The rise of metallurgy in Eurasia: Evolution, organisation and consumption of early metal in the Balkans (£38476.56 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 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)