Rivers of Bronze in the age of Iron: an interdisciplinary study of Iron Age copper-alloy material culture from the middle-upper Thames Valley

Rose Karpinski (University of Reading, in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum)

Supervised by Dr Peter Pray and Professor Duncan Garrow (University of Reading) and Dr Courtney Nimura and Dr Kelly Domoney (Ashmolean Museum)

Rose gained a first-class BA (Hons) in Archaeology and an MSc in Archaeological Sciences from the University of Bradford. Her MSc dissertation investigated Iron Age crucible fragments from the Knowe of Swandro, Rousay, Orkney to establish the composition of copper-alloys being utilised.

Rose’s PhD will provide an entirely new insight into the production and circulation of metalwork in the middle and upper Thames Valley during the dynamic Iron Age period, using an integrated characterisation approach to Iron Age metallurgy. Her project will aim to address the knowledge gap between well studied Bronze Age copper-alloys and Iron Age copper-alloy metallurgy which very little is known about. Her project will adopt an interdisciplinary approach that draws on archaeology and chemistry to answer vital questions at multiple scales about Iron Age societies in Britain. Which will result in the creation of new datasets, novel narratives, and improved methods for the study of Iron Age material culture.

She will use cutting-edge scientific techniques to enable analysis of metallurgical data in new ways, revealing complex histories of craft, recycling, and choice in the making of metal artefacts. The analysis will shed a much needed light on the changing social and cultural traditions of the Iron Age utilising collections held at the Ashmolean Museum.

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) scheme.