Dr Benjamin Roberts
B.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D.,
|Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology||237|
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 the Principle Investigator of the Leverhulme funded project Project Ancient Tin which is investigating whether the exceptionally rich tin deposits in Cornwall and Devon underpinned the massive technological and cultural change from copper to full tin-bronze use across Europe.
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 was 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 Bronze Age barrows (Reffley Wood) to Bronze Age shipwrecks (Salcombe) to a Late Iron Age hoards (Salisbury).
I am also interested in the impact of Treasure Act (1996, 2002) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the communication of archaeology in museums. My teaching covers courses on Later Prehistoric Europe as well as on Museum Archaeology.
PhD student research
I am keen to supervise postgraduate research on any area related to the European Neolithic-Bronze Age as well as Museum Archaeology. Past students have undertaken topics such as:
Ian Colquhoun (2015) The Bronze Swords of Ireland (awarded posthumously)
Edward Caswell (2020) A Place called Home: Understanding Bronze Age (c. 2400-800 cal BC) Settlement in Britain (now Finds Liasion Officer for Oxfordshire)
Felicity McDowall (2020) A visual and visitor-based analysis of the presentation of prehistory in museum displays across England (now Public Engagement with Research Evaluation Officer for Oxford University Museums)
- 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
- Material and Visual Culture
- Prehistoric Worlds
- 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)
- 2020: Member, Council of the Prehistoric Society:
- 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):
Available for media contact about:
- European Prehistory:
- Radivojević, M.,, Roberts, B.W., Marić, M., Kuzmanović-Cvetković, J., & Rehren, Th. (2021). The Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia: Evolution, Organisation and Consumption of Early Metal in the Balkans. Oxford: Archaeopress.
- Murgia, A., Melkonian, M. & Roberts, B.W. (2014). European Bronze Age Gold in the British Museum. British Museum Press.
Chapter in book
- Caswell, E. & Roberts, B.W. (2022). Booms and Busts in settlement chronologies: creating a new model for the use of Bronze Age settlements in the British Bronze Age. In Mesurer le temps à l'âge du Bronze: Journée thématique de l'APRAB, Mar 2020, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Marcigny, C.,, Lachenal, T., Milcent, P.-Y., Mordant, C., Peake, R., & Talon, M. Association pour la Promotion des Recherches sur l'Âge du Bronze. 8: 157-168.
- O’Connor, B., Roberts, B.W. & Wilkin, N. (2017). The Ornament Horizon revisited: new and old finds of Middle Bronze Age ornaments in southern England. In Le Bronze moyen et l'origine du Bronze final en Europe occidentale, de la Mer du Nord à la Méditerranée (XVIIe-XIIIe siècle avant notre ère). Lachenal T.,, Mordant C., Nicolas T., & Véber C Mémoires d’Archéologie du Grand-Est 1. 267-282.
- Wang, Q., Uckelmann, M., Roberts, B.W. & La Niece, S. (2016). Technical Study of British Bronze Age Shields in the British Museum. In Metals 2016. Proceedings of the interim meeting of the ICOM-CC metals working group. Menon, R., Chemello, C. & Pandya, A. ICOM-CC. 53-60.
- Warden, K., Caswell, E. & Roberts, B.W. (2016). Funerary fragments between the rivers: analysing the evidence for the dead in the Tyne–Forth region during the Late Bronze Age (c. 1150–800 BC). In Prehistory without Borders: Prehistoric Archaeology of the Tyne-Forth Region. Crellin, Rachel, Fowler, Chris & Tipping, Richard Oxbow. 156-167.
- Roberts, B.W. & Frieman, C. (2015). Early Metallurgy in Western and Northern Europe. In The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe. Fowler, C., Harding, J. & Hofmann, D. Oxford University Press. 711-728.
- Thornton, C.P. & Roberts, B.W. (2014). Introduction. In Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective: Methods and Syntheses. Roberts, B.W. & Thornton, C.P. Springer. 1-10.
- Roberts, B.W. Uckelmann, M. & Brandherm, D. (2013). Old Father Time: the chronology of the Bronze Age in Western Europe. In The Oxford Handbook of Bronze Age Europe. H. Fokkens & A. Harding Oxford University Press. 17-46.
- Roberts, B.W. (2013). Farmers in the Landscape or Heroes on the High Seas: Britain and Ireland in the Bronze Age. In Oxford Handbook of Bronze Age Europe. Fokkens, H. & Harding, A. Oxford University Press. 531-549.
- Roberts, B.W. & Frieman, C. (2012). Drawing boundaries and building models: investigating the concept of the ‘Chalcolithic frontier’ in Northwest Europe. In Is there a British Chalcolithic: people, place and polity in the later 3rd millennium. Allen, M. Gardiner,J. & Sheridan, A. Oxbow. 27-39.
- Roberts, B.W. & Vander Linden, M. (2011). Introduction. In Investigating Archaeological Cultures: Material Culture, Variability and Transmission. Roberts, B.W. & Vander Linden, M. 1-23.
- Vander Linden, M. & Roberts, B.W. (2011). A Tale of Two Countries: Contrasting Archaeological Culture History in British and French Archaeology. In Investigating Archaeological Cultures: Material Culture, Variability and Transmission. Roberts, B.W. & Vander Linden, M. Springer. 23-40.
- Roberts, B. W. (2011). Ancient Technology and Archaeological Cultures: understanding the earliest metallurgy in Eurasia. In Investigating Archaeological Cultures: material culture, variability and transmission. Roberts, B.W. & Vander Linden, M. 137-150.
- Roberts, B.W. (2009). Origins, Transmission and Traditions: analysing early metal in Western Europe. In Metals and Societies. Studies in honour of Barbara S. Ottaway. Kienlin,T.L. & Roberts, B.W. Habelt. 129-142.
- Roberts, B.W. (2009). Subsistence, Structures and Craftworking: analysing economic dynamics in Britain 2500-800 BC. In The Economic Foundations of the European Bronze Age. Bartelheim, M. & Stäuble, H. Verlag Marie Leidorf. 65-84.
- Ottaway, B.S. & Roberts, B.W. (2008). The Emergence of Metallurgy. In Prehistoric Europe: Theory and Practice. Jones, A. Blackwell. 193-225.
- Roberts, B.W. (2008). The Bronze Age. In The Handbook of British Archaeology. Atkins, L., Atkins, R. & Leitch, V. Constable and Robinson. 60-91.
- Roberts, B.W. & Thornton, C.P. (2014). Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective: Methods and Syntheses. Springer.
- Roberts, B.W. & Vander Linden, M. (2011). Investigating Archaeological Cultures: material culture, variability, and transmission. Springer.
- Kienlin, T.L. & Roberts,B.W. (2009). Metals and Societies. Studies in honour of Barbara S. Ottaway. Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie. Habelt.
- Berger, D., Wang, Q., Brügmann, G., Lockhoff, N., Roberts, B.W. & Pernicka, E. (2022). The Salcombe metal cargoes: New light on the provenance and circulation of tin and copper in Later Bronze Age Europe provided by trace elements and isotopes. Journal of Archaeological Science 138: 105543.
- Radivojević, Miljana & Roberts, Benjamin W. (2021). Early Balkan Metallurgy: Origins, Evolution and Society, 6200–3700 BC. Journal of World Prehistory 34(2): 195-278.
- Radivojević, M., Roberts, B.W., Pernicka, E., Stos-Gale, Z., Martinón-Torres, M., Rehren, Th., Bray, P., Brandherm, D., Ling, J., Mei, J., Vandkilde, H., Kristiansen, K., Shennan, S.J. & Broodbank, C. (2019). The Provenance, Use, and Circulation of Metals in the European Bronze Age: The State of Debate. Journal of Archaeological Research 27(2): 131-185.
- Caswell, E. & Roberts, B.W. (2018). Reassessing Community Cemeteries: Cremation Burials in Britain during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600–1150 cal BC). Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 84: 329-357.
- Wang, Q., Strekopytov, S. & Roberts, B.W. (2018). Copper ingots from a probable Bronze Age shipwreck off the coast of Salcombe, Devon: composition and microstructure. Journal of Archaeological Science 97: 102-117.
- Melton, N., Montgomery, J., Roberts, B.W., Cook, G. & Harris, S. (2016). On the curious date of the Rylstone log-coffin burial. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 82: 383-392.
- Wang, Q., Strekcopytov, S., Roberts, B.W. & Wilkin, N. (2016). Tin ingots from a probable Bronze Age shipwreck off the coast of Salcombe, Devon: Composition and microstructure. Journal of Archaeological Science 67: 80-92.
- Roberts, B.W., Boughton, D., Dinwiddy, M., Doshi, N., Fitzpatrick, A., Hook, D., Meeks, N., Woodward, A. & Woodward, P. (2015). Collapsing Commodities or Lavish Offerings? Understanding Massive Metalwork Deposition at Langton Matravers, Dorset During the Bronze Age–Iron Age Transition. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 34 (4): 365-395.
- Roberts, B.W. & Radivojević, M. (2015). Invention as a Process: Pyrotechnologies in Early Societies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 25(01): 299-306.
- Murgia, A., Roberts, B.W. & Wiseman, R. (2014). What have metal-detectorists ever done for us? Discovering Bronze Age gold in England and Wales. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 44(3): 353-367.
- Thornton, C.P., Golden, J.M. Killick, D.J. Pigott, V.C. Rehren,Th. & B.W. Roberts, (2010). A Chalcolithic Error: Rebuttal to Amzallag 2009. American Journal of Archaeology 114: 305–15.
- Roberts, B.W. (2009). Creating Traditions and Shaping Technologies: understanding the emergence of metallurgy in Western Europe c. 3500-2000 BC. World Archaeology 40(3): 354-372.
- Roberts, B.W. (2009). Production Networks and Consumer Choice in the Earliest Metal of Western Europe. Journal of World Prehistory 22(4): 461-81.
- Thornton, C.P. & Roberts, B.W. (2009). Introduction: The Beginnings of Metallurgy in Global Perspective. Journal of World Prehistory. Journal of World Prehistory 22(3): 181-4.
- Roberts, B. W. Thornton, C.P. & Pigott, V.C. (2009). Development of metallurgy in Eurasia. Antiquity 83(322): 1012–1022.
- B.W. Roberts (2008). Migration, craft expertise and metallurgy: analysing the ‘spread’ of metal in Europe. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 23 (2): 27-45.
- Nicholson, K. & Roberts, B.W. (2007). Roman deposits at Lynmouth Gardens/Parkway, Chelmsford; excavations 2003. Essex Archaeology and History 38: 89-101.
- Roberts,B.W. (2007). Evidence of Roman agricultural drainage: excavation south of the former A120, Takeley, 2003. Essex Archaeology and History 38 : 53-65.
- Roberts,B.W. (2007). Excavations at the former Dovercourt Motors site, Spital Road, Maldon, 2002. Essex Archaeology and History 38: 109-119.
- O’Brien, L. & Roberts, B.W. (2007). Excavations at the former Shell Garage site, 84-88 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford. Essex Archaeology and History 38: 102-108.
- Roberts, B.W. (2007). Adorning the living but not the dead: a reassessment of Middle Bronze Age ornaments in Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 73: 135-167.
- O'Brien, L. & Roberts, B.W. (2004). Excavations on Roman Ermine Street at the New Restaurant Facility, GlaxoSmithKline, Ware. Hertfordshire Archaeology and History 14: 3-39.
- Roberts,B.W. & Ottaway, B.S. (2003). The use and significance of socketed axes during the Late Bronze Age. European Journal of Archaeology 6(2): 119-140.
- Roberts, B.W. & Veysey, C. (2011). Trading Places. British Museum Magazine 70: 44-45.