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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

New studentship - Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe

Published: 26 April 2010

This three-year studentship forms part of the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) funded project Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe. The deadline for this studentship has now passed.

Based at the University of Southampton, the project will take a comparative approach to the examination of pottery production in north and central Europe, looking particularly at technical qualities, motifs and forms. The successful applicant will form part of a dynamic international research environment, working closely with Dr Joanna Sofaer and other leading European academics examining pottery, metal, textiles and the role of prehistoric craft in the modern world. They will be expected to participate fully in project activities, including participation in the project’s dissemination strategy.

The successful applicant will have at least a good 2:1 degree in archaeology and ideally an MA in a relevant discipline. A good knowledge of methods for the analysis of prehistoric pottery is essential, including fabric analysis and ceramic petrology. Candidates should have a demonstrable interest in the European Bronze Age and a willingness to carry out research abroad.

The studentship is tenable for a maximum of three years at an annual stipend of £13,290 ending on 1 September 2013. The project will pay postgraduate tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Travel and research expenses incurred as part of the project are also available.

  • Applicants are encouraged to contact the Project Leader Dr Joanna Sofaer ( ) by email to discuss their application before submission. A project abstract is provided below.

Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe Project abstract

This project offers important insights into the fundamental nature of creativity by exploring a part of European history not influenced by contemporary concepts of art (the Bronze Age), looking at developments in crafts that we take for granted: pottery, textiles, metalwork. It investigates objects as a means to understand local and transnational creative activities, investigating the use of decorative motifs and the techniques and skill employed in their creation. It tracks developments in these creative expressions over more than a millennium (1800-800/500 BC) along a north-south axis across Europe: Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Adriatic. Links between ancient and modern creativity are explored through contemporary engagements with Bronze Age objects by modern craftspeople and the public.

The objectives will be achieved through four levels of interconnected analyses:

  1. The distinct innate qualities of pottery, textiles and metalwork that inspired and enabled creative developments.
  2. Investigation of the development of skill and motifs, and comparisons between the materials in terms of technical relationships and cross-material influences through the transfer of knowledge.
  3. Spatial and temporal trends in the expression of creativity within the three materials.
  4. The potential of prehistoric objects to impact modern people through their engagement with ancient craft, including its ability to both inspire and entertain, and the role of modern craftspeople as novel interpreters of prehistoric objects.

Outcomes take the form of open-access web resources, publication, conferences and public activities, including collaboration with contemporary craftspeople. Implementation of the project takes place through four research teams working in parallel plus an administration team. Each research team involves at least two partners (a university and either a major museum or non-academic partner), with young researchers attached to each team. Continual communication takes place through a project website, as well as regular team and networking meetings, with agreed timelines and workplan.

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