What alloys of copper were used by ancient Egyptians? Where did the copper used by ancient metallurgist come from? Jiří Kmošek, a young researcher of the Faculty of Restoration of the University of Pardubice, who specializes in analysing historical artifacts, is trying to answer these questions. Now, a prestigious fellowship awarded by the Austrian Academic of Sciences will put him in a better position to do so for the following three years.
Ing. Jiří Kmošek does part of his doctoral research at the Institute of Science and Technology in Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. As a follow up to the archaeological excavations in Egypt, he uses methods of natural sciences to analyse historical artifacts made of alloys of copper housed by museums across the world, such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, British Museum in London or Louvre in Paris. In Egypt, he cooperates with the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Cairo University as well as international archaeological teams.
“At the moment, it is prohibited to export any archaeological artifacts from Egypt. That is why most of the analyses must be performed in Egypt. The artifacts are processed in the field, e.g. at the Giza or Abusir necropolis, or in archaeometry laboratories of the French Institute for Eastern Archaeology in Cairo,” says Jiří Kmošek.
His PhD project deals with early metallurgical aspects of copper used in ancient Egypt and Nubia, using the latest analytical methods. The analysed metals come from the area of today’s Egypt and North Sudan and cover a period from the ancient times to the New Kingdom of Egypt (from the third to the second millennium BC). To study the historical alloys of copper, Jiří uses the latest methods including MC-ICP-MS to analyse copper isotopes rations, neutron activation analysis or proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) to analyse the concentration of trace elements. The results of his research have already been published in international journals with an impact factor.
The Doctoral Fellowship Programme of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is a prestigious fellowship granted to selected students of Austrian universities on the basis of their research proposals, which are independently evaluated by two international experts.