Global warming at the end of the last Ice Age led to the inundation of vast landscapes that had once been home to thousands of people. These lost lands hold a unique and largely unexplored record of settlement and colonisation linked to climate change over millennia.
Within the Europe's Lost Frontiers project, researchers in the fields of archaeo-geophysics, molecular biology and computer simulation are seeking to explore the past environments, ecological change and the transition between hunter gathering societies and farming in the inundated land of the southern North Sea - Doggerland.
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Ben Stern has a BSc in Chemistry (1992, Bristol) and a PhD “Biomineral lipids in living and fossil molluscs” (1996, Newcastle) and came to Bradford in 1996 as a NERC funded postdoctoral research assistant working on a project entitled “New approaches to the study of commodities transported to Egypt in the Late Bronze age Canaanite amphorae”. .Ben's research falls at the interface between analytical chemistry and archaeology.
He is interested in the identification of the ‘archaeologically invisible’ by the correct application of analytical techniques. Some techniques are now fairly routine (such as Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC, GC-MS), Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and stable light isotopic ratios (Isotope Ratio-MS)), although these techniques may have not been applied to novel materials. Some are new (e.g. High Performance Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry, HPLC-MS), but all require careful application due to problems of small sample size, contamination, complex mixtures, degradation and the reliability of the biomarker approach.
University of Bradford