Post-doctoral scientist on silver ores and numismatics / Closed application

SILVER is a five-year Advanced ERC project that started 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 monetisation 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 characterise impurities or additives. The common belief that PbS (galena) ores accounted for most of the silver mined in the antique world will be tested. We will extract Ag from ores around the Mediterranean and with trace elements and Ag, Cu, and Pb isotopes test PbS prevalence over As and Sb sulfosalts and low-temperature ores. Our work will address a number of major outstanding 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 monetisation of ancient societies and their management of precious metal resources.

As part of this project, a post-doc position is offered at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon) to start on 1 September 2018 to undertake the following:

Post-doctoral scientist on Historiography of ancient coin metal analyses / Closed application

Application Deadline: 31/05/2018 18:00 – Europe/Brussels

Contact Details

Where to send your application.

Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon
Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon
Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon
Higher Education Institute
46 Allée d Italie

Aditional Information


Health insurance, unemployment and retirement benefits included.

Eligibility criteria

PhD level or higher

Selection process

Initial step: short list established from the submitted file after consultting with collaborators

Second step: interview (face-to-face or skype)


   Required Research Experiences

History › Numismatics
1 – 4
Geosciences › Geology
1 – 4

   Offer Requirements

ENGLISH: Excellent


The qualifications required for this sub-project are:

  • a PhD in Ancient History, Archaeology, or relevant Humanities-related field with a background in geology or geochemistry
  • substantial experience in a fieldwork-centred research environment
  • expertise and experience in statistical computing, geographic information systems, or data management / analysis / visualisation.
  • evidence of project management skills
  • track record and research experience working in the Balkan peninsula, with ability to speak local languages an advantage
  • academic writing and presentation skills in English
  • substantial publication record in relevant areas
  • the ability to work both individually and as part of a team.

This post-doc position is a full-time equivalent but part-time employment (>60%) may be negotiated. It is offered for a period of 12 months, renewable twice.

The post-doctoral scientist will be in residence at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon but may have to spend extensive periods of time in other countries as required by the needs of the proposal.  She/he will provide managerial support to the project, work with the existing PIs and be in regular communication with Prof. Albarede. She/he is expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the ERC project.

Specific Requirements

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 (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 ( 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 address: or

By | 2020-05-19T16:36:45+02:00 juin 17th, 2018|