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Dr Benjamin Stern

Assistant Professor

Faculty/Dept/School School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 236054


Ben is currently a Lecturer in Archaeological Sciences. Ben’s role is divided between Archaeology, Chemistry and the Analytical Centre.


Bens 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. Further details and some case studies. Archaeologically the aims are to find direct molecular, trace element and isotopic evidence for the identification and use of archaeological materials including ceramic vessels, traded goods and soils (in combination with conventional archaeological evidence). Related areas of interest include the analysis of modern natural products their degradation and preservation.


TitleDetermination of contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and their mode of origin, in urban soils from Leeds (UK) (2018)
AuthorsHamed, Heiam A. Mohamed; Hale, William H.G.; Stern, Ben
TitleRed Lustrous Wheelmade ware: analysis of organic residues in Late Bronze Age trade and storage vessels from the eastern Mediterranean (2017)
AuthorsSteele, Valerie J.; Stern, Ben
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
TitleOrganic residue analysis of Egyptian votive mummies and their research potential (2017)
AuthorsBrettell R.;Martin W.;Atherton-Woolham S.;Stern B.;McKnight L.
JournalStudies in Conservation
TitleOrganic residue analysis of Egyptian votive mummies and their research potential (2016)
AuthorsBrettell, Rhea C.; Martin, William H.C.; Atherton-Woolham, S.; Stern, Ben; McKnight, L.
Title‘Choicest unguents’: molecular evidence for the use of resinous plant exudates in late Roman mortuary rites in Britain (2015)
AuthorsBrettell, Rhea C.; Schotsmans, Eline M.J.; Walton Rogers, P.; Reifarth, N.; Redfern, R.C.; Stern, Ben; Heron, Carl P.
Title'Choicest unguents': Molecular evidence for the use of resinous plant exudates in late Roman mortuary rites in Britain (2015)
AuthorsBrettell R.;Schotsmans E.;Walton Rogers P.;Reifarth N.;Redfern R.;Stern B.;Heron C.
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
TitleThe 'semblance of immortality'? Resinous materials and mortuary rites in Roman Britain (2014)
AuthorsBrettell, Rhea C.; Stern, Ben; Reifarth, N.; Heron, Carl P.
TitleQualitative and Quantitative Assessment of Fatty Acids of Buddleja asiatica by GC-MS (2013)
AuthorsAli, F.; Ali, I.; Bibi, H.; Malik, A.; Stern, Ben; Maitland, Derek J.
TitlePET bottle use patterns and antimony migration into bottled water and soft drinks: The case of British and Nigerian bottles (2012)
AuthorsTukur A.;Sharp L.;Stern B.;Tizaoui C.;Benkreira H.
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
TitleA study of 18th century Coptic icons of Ibrahim Al-Nasekh using Raman microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry: Indigo as an organic pigment in Egyptian panel paintings (2012)
AuthorsAbdel-Ghani M.;Stern B.;Edwards H.;Janaway R.
JournalVibrational Spectroscopy
TitleBeeswax preserved in a Late Chalcolithic Bevelled Rim bowl from the Tehran Plain, Iran (2012)
AuthorsMayyas, A.; Stern, Ben; Gillmore, Gavin; Coningham, Robin A.E.; Fazeli Nashli, H.
TitleApplication of lipid biomarker analysis to evaluate the function of "slab-lined pits" in Arctic Norway (2010)
AuthorsHeron, Carl P.; Nilsen, G.; Stern, Ben; Craig, O.E.; Nordby, C.C.
TitleThe Identity of the St Bees Lady, Cumbria: An Osteobiographical Approach (2010)
AuthorsKnüsel, Christopher J.; Batt, Catherine M.; Cook, G.; Montgomery, Janet; Müldner, G.; Ogden, Alan R.; Palmer, C.; Stern, Ben; Todd, J.; Wilson, Andrew S.
TitleOlive oil or lard? Distinguishing plant oils from animal fats in the archaeological record of the eastern Mediterranean using gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (2010)
AuthorsSteele, Valerie J.; Stern, Ben; Stott, A.W.
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
TitleGas chromatographic, mass spectrometric and stable carbon isotope investigations of organic residues in `slab-lined pits' from Arctic Norway (2010)
AuthorsHeron, Carl P.; Nilsen, G.; Stern, Ben; Craig, O.E.; Nordby, C.C.
TitleCharacterization of paint and varnish on a medieval Coptic-Byzantine icon: Novel usage of dammar resin? (2009)
AuthorsAbdel-Ghani, Mona H.; Edwards, Howell G.M.; Stern, Ben; Janaway, Robert C.
TitleAnalysis of yellow "fat" deposits on Inuit boots (2009)
AuthorsEdwards, Howell G.M.; Stern, Ben; Burgio, L.; Kite, M.
TitleNeolithic zoomorphic vessels from Eastern Macedonia, Greece: Issues of function (2009)
AuthorsMarangou, C.; Stern, Ben
TitleWaking the dead: Scientific analysis of an Egyptian tunic. (2009)
AuthorsHaldane, E.A.; Gillies, Sara; O'Connor, Sonia A.; Batt, Catherine M.; Stern, Ben
TitleAnalysis of three putative birch bark tar samples from Melkøya, Arctic Norway (2009)
AuthorsStern, Ben; Heron, Carl P.; Clelland, Sarah-Jane; Nordby, C.C.
TitleCharacterization of paint and varnish on a medieval Coptic-Byzantine icon: Novel usage of dammar resin (2009)
AuthorsAbdel-Ghani M.;Edwards H.;Stern B.;Janaway R.
JournalSpectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
TitleTrace element concentrations in mangrove sediments in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh (2009)
AuthorsAwal, M.A.; Hale, William H.G.; Stern, Ben
TitleA Raman microscopic and gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric study of two 19th century overlapping Coptic icons of Anastasy Al-Romi (2008)
AuthorsAbdel-Ghani M.;Edwards H.;Janaway R.;Stern B.
JournalVibrational Spectroscopy
TitleNew investigations into the Uluburun resin cargo (2008)
AuthorsStern, Ben; Heron, Carl P.; Tellefsen, T.; Serpico, M.
TitleBulk stable light isotopic ratios in recent and archaeological resins: Towards detecting the transport of resins in antiquity? (2008)
AuthorsStern B.;Lampert Moore C.;Heron C.;Pollard A.
TitleFrom Susa to Anuradhapura: Reconstructing aspects of trade and exchange in bitumen-coated ceramic vessels between Iran and Sri Lanka from the Third to the Ninth Centuries AD. (2008)
AuthorsStern, Ben; Connan, J.; Blakelock, Eleanor S.; Jackman, R.; Coningham, Robin A.E.; Heron, Carl P.
TitleCombined FT-Raman spectroscopic and mass spectrometric study of ancient Egyptian sarcophagal fragments (2007)
AuthorsEdwards H.;Stern B.;Villar S.;David A.
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
TitleMolecular and isotopic demonstration of the processing of acquatic products in Northern European prehistoric pottery (2007)
AuthorsCraig O.;Forster M.;Andersen S.;Koch E.;Crombé P.;Milner N.;Stern B.;Bailey G.;Heron C.
TitleThe application of LA-ICP-MS in the examination of the thin plating layers found in late Roman coins (2007)
AuthorsVlachou-Mogire C.;Stern B.;McDonnell J.
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
TitleStable isotope and DNA evidence for ritual sequences in Inca child sacrifice (2007)
AuthorsWilson, Andrew S.; Ceruti, M.C.; Chavez, J.A.; Taylor, Timothy F.; Stern, Ben
TitleMolecular and isotopic demonstration of the processing of aquatic products in northern European prehistoric pottery (2007)
AuthorsCraig, O.E.; Forster, M.; Andersen, S.H.; Koch, E.; Crombé, P.; Milner, N.J.; Stern, Ben; Bailey, G.N.; Heron, Carl P.
TitleBulk stable light isotopic ratios in archaeological birch bark tars (2006)
AuthorsStern B.;Clelland S.;Nordby C.;Urem-Kotsou D.
JournalApplied Geochemistry
TitleDesert roads and transport vessels from Late Roman-Coptic times in the Eastern Sahara (2005)
AuthorsEichhorn B.;Hendrickx S.;Riemer H.;Stern B.
JournalJournal of African Archaeology
TitleThe circulation and consumption of Red Lustrous Wheelmade Ware: petrographic, chemical and residue analysis (2005)
AuthorsKnappett, C.; Kilikoglou, V.; Steele, Valerie J.; Stern, Ben
JournalAnatolian Studies
TitleA geochemical investigation of the origin of rouletted and other related South Asian fine wares (2005)
AuthorsFord L.;Pollard A.;Coningham R.;Stern B.
TitleDating resin coating on pottery: The Spirit Cave early ceramic dates revised (2003)
AuthorsLampert C.;Glover I.;Hedges R.;Heron C.;Higham T.;Stern B.;Shoocongdej R.;Thompson G.
TitleCompositional variations in aged and heated pistacia resin found in late bronze age canaanite amphorae and bowls from Amarna, Egypt (2003)
AuthorsStern B.;Heron C.;Corr L.;Serpico M.;Bourriau J.
TitleCompositional variation in aged and heated Pistacia resin found in Late Bronze Age Canaanite amphorae and bowls from Amarna, Egypt (2003)
AuthorsHeron, Carl P.; Corr, L.; Serpico, M.; Stern, Ben; Bourriou, J.
TitleBirch-bark tar at Neolithic Makriyalos, Greece (2002)
AuthorsUrem-Kotsou D.;Stern B.;Heron C.;Kotsakis K.
TitleYesterday's hair--human hair in archaeology (2001)
AuthorsWilson, Andrew S.; Dixon, Ronald A.; Dodson, Hilary I.; Janaway, Robert C.; Pollard, A. Mark; Stern, Ben; Tobin, Desmond J.
TitleA comparison of methods for establishing fatty acid concentration gradients across potsherds: A case study using Late Bronze Age Canaanite amphorae (2000)
AuthorsStern B.;Heron C.;Serpico M.;Bourriau J.