The Cranfield Forensic Institute and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are offering, in partnership with the British Museum, a fully-funded PhD studentship on the archaeometallurgy of Iran during the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition (c. 1200–800 BCE). The student will investigate an exceptional collection of artefacts that includes substantial quantities of bladed weaponry.
They will develop non-destructive, neutron imaging and compositional analytical techniques at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source to investigate complex metalworking techniques in use at this time, including bimetallic manufacturing (e.g. objects made of both bronze and iron), casting on, and riveting assembly.
The student will also use state-of-the-art materials analytical facilities at the Cranfield Forensic Institute to analyse the wider assemblage of material (>200 artefacts) and narrow down a subset for investigation at ISIS. The project will address key questions about the relationship between iron- and bronze-working techniques during a period of early iron use, touching on broader questions of how innovations spread and how technological systems transform. Because the materials for study were seized as part of law enforcement investigations pending repatriation, the analyses will also contribute to broader efforts to track, and ultimately prevent, illegal trafficking in antiquities. The studentship forms part of a broader collaborative effort between the Cranfield Forensic Institute and the British Museum, providing the student with additional professional development opportunities, including a network of scholars working in heritage science.
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