Post-doctoral researcher on isotope geochemistry of silver ores

SILVER is a five-year Advanced ERC project to start in October 2017 at the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) of Lyon under the supervision of Francis Albarede. 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 is offered for Task A2 Non-galena silver ores at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon)/ German Mining Museum (Bochum).

This sub-task will explore the use of either polymetallic or paragenetic ore mineral compositions as it might have provided major amounts of various metals including precious metals. The objective would be the tracking of silver from non-galena ores: 1. Focusing on the polymetallic ores and paragenetic ore minerals from the southern Iberian peninsula and other regions of the Mediterranean. 2. Finding analytical strategies to differentiate between silver from galena and polymetallic/mixed ore mineral compositions and oxidized minerals. 3. Evaluation of silver as a component in artefacts (coins, lead glasses, and others) examining random distribution of silver contents vs. standardised recipes. 4. Studying the metallurgical remains under this aspect: process relicts as indicators for complex silver-bearing ores versus galena. The scientific leadership of this task will be by Sabine Klein in full collaboration with Lyon and the Toulouse partners of the ERC project.

Post-doctoral researcher on isotope geochemistry of silver ores

Application Deadline: 01/06/2018 18:00 – Europe/Brussels

Contact Details

Where to send your application.

Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon
Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon
Laboratoire de Geologie de Lyon
Higher Education Institute
46 Allée d’Italie
+49 (234) 282538-30

Aditional Information


Health insurance and retirement pension benefits

Selection process

The application deadline is 1st June 2018

Interviews will be arranged between in the Summer 2018.

Candidates selected for the interviews will be contacted by mid-June 2017, and asked to write a short research design on a topic to be announced at that moment.

Employment should become effective during the academic year 2018-2019


Required Research Experiences

    Geosciences › Other
    1 – 4

Offer Requirements

    Geosciences: PhD or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


• A PhD in Geosciences with strong background in ore petrology, geochemistry and archaeometallurgy;

• 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);

• Perfect skills for laboratory work, handling of geochemical devices, in particular mass

spectrometers and electron microprobes

• Experience with applied isotope analysis with emphasis on lead, copper and silver isotopes.

• Statistical data handling

• Creativity

• Ability to work both individually and as part of a team

Specific Requirements

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 Bochum, working at the German Mining Museum under the supervision of Sabine Klein, and 3 months in Lyon, at the Ecole Normale Suéprieure under the supervision of Francis Albarède. She/he will be asked to contribute to the intellectual life of the ERC project.

By | 2018-06-17T12:58:25+02:00 juin 17th, 2018|