Post-doc position (two years)

Lyon (F)/Brussels (B)

Post-doc researcher metal content of ancient coins

At the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon) a post-doc position is on offer as part of the ERC Advanced project 741454: ‘Silver Isotopes and the Rise of Money (SILVER)’ (2017-2022).
SILVER is a five-year Advanced ERC project to start in October 2017 at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of Lyon under the supervision of Francis Albarède. Silver was the primary metal of economic exchange and military finances in ancient Mediterranean and Near-Eastern societies. Silver isotopes will help quantify monetization of these societies by identifying Ag mineral sources, monetary sinks, and its major transfer routes. High-precision stable Ag isotope analysis initiated in Lyon has shed new light on the provenance of silver coinage. This is because Ag isotopes are distinctive of coinage’s intrinsic value in contrast to traditionally-used Pb and Cu isotopes, which may characterize impurities or additives. The common belief that PbS (galena) ores accounted most of the silver mined in the antique world will be tested. We will extract Ag from ores around the Mediterranean and test PbS prevalence over As and Sb sulfosalts and low-temperature ores with Ag, Cu, and Pb isotopes and trace elements. Our work will address major questions: understand the sources of unminted silver as a precursor to coinage; use Ag isotope fingerprinting of the earliest coinages of Athens to identify the contributions of Greek mines to the development of the world’s first democracy; map the Greek and Persian mines which sourced the treasure captured by Alexander the Great, and investigate the spread of its silver; study the causes of the monetary reform of the Roman Republic in 211 BC; and model the silver cycle from mines to coinage and artefacts in its economic context. In the short term this project represents radical scientific innovation, which will pave the way for a global and quantitative understanding of the history of monetary development in the ancient Mediterranean. In the long term, it will contribute to the emergence of a community of analysts, numismatists and economic historians with shared expertise about the monetization of ancient societies and their management of precious metal resources.

As part of this project, a post-doc position of two years (to start from 1st August 2018) is offered at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon)/ Royal Library of Belgium (Brussels):
1) Historiography of ancient coin metal analyses: This SP will aim at producing a comprehensive survey of all the literature produced so far on metal analyses applied to ancient coins (mostly Greek and Roman), whatever the metal. It requires first to establish a full bibliography, creating a portable library of PDFs. Then and more crucially, the hired post-doc is expected to write the narrative of how we know what we think to know about Greek silver metal contents. It implies to identify key historical issues, working together with the other members of the SILVER project.

The qualifications required for this sub-projects are:

- a PhD in Ancient history, Archaeology, or related fields connected with ancient numismatics;
- a first-rate track record and research experience;
- publications of articles in peer-reviewed international journals or monographs with recognized academic publishers;
- academic writing and presentation skills in English (the working language of the project);
- the ability to work both individually and as part of a team.

This post-doc position is a full-time equivalent. They are offered for a period of 12 months, renewable once (two years in total) upon good performance. The post-doc retained will be required to reside 9 months in Brussels, working at the Royal Library of Belgium under the supervision of François de Callataÿ, and 3 months in Lyon, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure under the supervision of Francis Albarède. She/he will be asked to contribute to the intellectual life of the ERC project.

How to apply?
Applications should be made via pdf files and contain the following:
(1) a cover letter setting out the candidate’s qualifications and motivation for applying for one of the three positions offered (maximum 2 pages);
(2) a curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages);
(3) a list of publications;
(4) two samples of published work (articles, chapters) in pdf (preferably in English);
(5) a transcript of grades and/or copy of the PhD certificate;
(6) the name (with title, affiliation and email) of three people who have accepted to be contacted as potential referees.

Applications should be made electronically and sent to the following addresses:
falbarede[at] and callatay[at]

The application deadline is 1st June 2018

Interviews will be arranged in Brussels between 3 and 5 July 2018.
Candidates selected for the interviews will be contacted by mid-June 2017.
Employment should become effective from 1 August 2018.

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