By Madaline Harris-Schober and Annabel Livingstone
Our keynote speaker for 2016 is Professor Ernst Pernicka from Heidelberg University. Head of the the CEZ Archaeometrie laboratory, Ernst has been working on radiocarbon dating, authenticity, provenance and isotope analysis in archaeology and objects of the cultural heritage for some forty years.
Notably, Ernst has excavated at the ancient citadel of Troy, in the northwestern Anatolian province of Çanakkale, from 2005-2012. His work at during these seven years at the famed site has provided insight into the world of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War.
In 2015 Ernst and his laboratory team presented new research results regarding Early Bronze Age chronology in collaboration with Heidelberg Academy of Science, and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History researchers. This work has shed new light on the Early Bronze Age period in Central Europe.
He and his team have introduced new isotope systems in provenance analysis of metals, like osmium isotope ratios for iron, tin isotope ratios for tin and bronze and currently they work on silver isotope ratios for the provenance of gold.
In his institute the methods developed and the experience and data acquired are also used for authenticity tests for all kinds of materials. For base metals they have developed the unique test with Pb-210 which was also applied in the investigation of the famous Sky Disc of Nebra. Currently they work on the U/Th-He method for dating gold.
Having worked with scholars such as Philipp Stockhammer, of Heidelberg University, Ernst is a well-known scholar and archaeological scientist who is constantly researching and contributing to the field.