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Cambridge appoints next Professor of Archaeological Science

last modified Jan 26, 2018 10:37 AM
Professor Marcos Martinón-Torres has been announced as the next Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge

“The appointment of Professor Marcos Martinón-Torres to the Pitt-Rivers Chair forges an exciting new direction for Cambridge Archaeology, towards the development of cutting-edge, archaeologically engaged materials analysis, as well as both the practice and philosophy of archaeological science as a whole,” said Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.  

“His engagement with ancient technology, in its social and material dimensions, resonates with our strength in material culture theory, and his deep engagements with the archaeologies of China and Latin America equally grow our strengths in both regions of the world. Going forward, Cambridge also remains fully committed to retaining its traditional strength in archaeobotany and bioarchaeology more generally.”

Prof Marcos Martinon Torres

Professor Marcos Martinón-Torres Image credit: S.R. Estella

Professor Martinón-Torres, currently Professor of Archaeological Science at UCL, is President-Elect of the Society for Archaeological Sciences and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Archaeological Science  His research interests centre around material culture and technologies, the context of innovations, and knowledge transmission. He approaches these subjects through a combination of analytical studies of archaeological materials, experiments, and historical sources.

Professor Martinón-Torres commented, “I am thrilled to have been elected to this post, and am looking forward to facing the many challenges and opportunities it will bring. Many of the most important archaeological discoveries now take place in laboratories, and scientific methods both inspire theories and provide fundamental data for our work.”  

“Archaeology  is being revolutionised by researchers who increasingly employ portable equipment, digital technologies, and advanced instrumentation and data processing tools to address questions about the past. This affects all of us, whether we are interested in past identities, politics, environments, technologies or any other human dimension.”

“Bringing together a mixed range of ingenious scholars with a wealth of resources, Cambridge is in a privileged position to shape the archaeology of the future without disciplinary or national boundaries, while remaining conscious of our responsibility to make what we do accessible to everyone. I am honoured to be joining a team of this calibre, who will no doubt teach and challenge me. I will do my best to live up to the high standards set by Professor Martin Jones, my predecessor in this role, building on the strong pillars he established and exploring complementary directions and synergies within the Department of Archaeology and beyond.”

Professor Martinón-Torres is strongly committed to creative teaching and training of interdisciplinary researchers. This is manifest in his large cohort of doctoral students, coming from 16 countries and working on four continents, as well as in his involvement in large-scale externally-funded training programmes in archaeological and heritage science, funded by the European Union and the EPSRC.

Some of his most prominent recent projects are focused on the archaeology of European alchemy and chemistry (with funding from an AHRC Fellowship), the making of China’s Terracotta Army (awarded recognition as a British Academy Project), and the archaeometallurgy of gold in South America.

Professor Martinón-Torres will take up this Chair in October 2018, upon the retirement of Professor Martin Jones, who has held this post with immense international distinction since 1990.

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