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Dr Benjamin Roberts

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology


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)

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

Esteem Indicators


Authored book

Chapter in book

Conference Proceeding

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Print)

Supervision students