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The SMITH project seeks to develop our understanding of the origins of metallurgy in Western Europe and its social impact as a starting point to facilitate comparisons on a Eurasian scale
It capitalises on unprecedented access to key archaeological materials, availability of synergic projects and infrastructures at UCL, and a wholly interdisciplinary approach that amalgamates cutting edge archaeological science with sophisticated theorisation on the role of technology in society

The main questions addressed are:
-Whether metallurgy was independently developed in Western Europe
-Its actual impact in social stratification processes

A wide range of archaeological materials from key sites in Western Europe will be analysed by a myriad of techniques–XRF, SEM, ICP, Metallography, etc–involving interdisciplinary collaboration.The data will be interpreted in the light of the evidence known from Eurasia and especially of the current UCL-lead project on the origins of metallurgy in the Balkans

SMITH brings an original perspective as it will refocus the debate on the origins of metallurgy, and because of its comprehensive dual concern:
on the one hand it includes all the steps of the metallurgical process (mining, smelting and shaping but also consumption);
on the other hand, it approaches metallurgy as part of a myriad of dynamic human activities and relationships in specific and changing social contexts

The study of the whole diversity of the archaeometallurgical and archaeological record is anchored in a concern with how societies assimilated metallurgy and developed different metallurgical traditions, and to what extent those processes were influenced by social contacts
As a whole, SMITH aims to be on the cutting-edge of existing efforts to produce reliable data and original interpretations on the origins of metallurgy, the transfer of this knowledge and its social impact
It will bring to light a wealth of key materials which are likely to challenge current paradigms

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering/metallurgy

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)


University College London
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 221 606,40
Administrative Contact
Giles Machell (Mr.)