PhD Courses in Denmark

CANCELLED - Introduction to Metalwork Wear Analysis

Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University


This two-day course introduces the principles and methods of Metalwork Wear Analysis (MWA) to beginners. MWA enables the recognition, evaluation, and interpretation of the traces visible on prehistoric and historic copper-alloy objects by low-power optical and electronic microscopy. The method gives insights into the life cycle of objects including manufacture, uses, repairs, and post-depositional history.

This hands-on course consists of a blend of lectures (introducing key themes and topics) and supervised practical sessions, in which participants will learn how to observe, record, and interpret the marks visible on original bronzes from the Aarhus University collections. The course does not require any background knowledge in microwear analysis or optical microscopy. 

The course is jointly led by Dr Andrea Dolfini (Newcastle University, UK) and Dr Heide Wrobel-Norgaard (independent researcher). Andrea is interested in prehistoric archaeology, copper-alloy metallurgy, and the social dynamics of interpersonal violence in prehistoric and preliterate societies. He is a specialist in use-wear analysis on weapons and has researched a wide array of early metal tools and weapons through MWA and experimental archaeology. Heide Wrobel Nørgaard is a specialist for crafting and production traces on metal artefacts and specialised in analysing bronze objects. She is interesting in non-ferrous metals from Neolithic to Iron Age. 

Course schedule:
Day 1 (AD & HWN). Morning: Introduction to MWA and trace recording methods; how to use stereomicroscopes; how to work with macro-photography; how to interpret and distinguish crafting from use-wear traces. Afternoon: The wear analysis of prehistoric axe-heads.
Day 2 (AD & HWN). Morning: The wear analysis of bladed tools/weapons. Defining crafting traces on decorated artefacts.
Afternoon: Taking and analysing dental casts; further supervised wear analysis time and discussion. 


To provide a theoretical and practical introduction to Metalwork Craft and Wear Analysis including its principles and its applications to research, conservation, and heritage studies. By the end of the course, the students will have developed a critical understanding of MCWA, its uses for interpreting the life-histories of early copper-alloy artefacts, and its strengths and limitations. The students will be able to distinguish crafting traces from wear traces. They will also be able to practise MCWA at beginners' level. Research-grade and professional applications of the method may require further training and practice. 


- Dolfini, A. and Crellin, R.J., 2016. Metalwork wear analysis: The loss of innocence. Journal of Archaeological Science, 66: 78-87 [essential background reading]
- Dolfini, A. 2011. The function of Chalcolithic metalwork in Italy: An assessment based on use-wear analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(5): 1037-1049. 
- Crellin, R.J. 2018. Examining the British and Irish Early Bronze Age flat axes of the Greenwell Collection at the British Museum. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 18: 858-888.
- Nørgaard, H. W. 2018. The Nordic Bronze Age (1500-1100 BC): Craft Mobility and Contact Networks in Metal Craft. Prähistorische Zeitschrift, 93(1), 89-120.
- Nørgaard, H. W. 2018. Bronze Age Metalwork. Techniques and traditions in the Nordic Bronze Age 1500-1100 BC, Oxford, Archaeopress: 1-10; 56-65; 137-195.

Target group:

The course is suitable for all research students as well as advanced Master's students and early career researchers




Seamless blend of lectures and hands-on practicals. 


The course will carry 2 ECTS points. They include reading the literature required for the course, two days of lectures/hands on experience, and the presentation of the group assignment where students will receive feedback on their work. 


Dr Andrea Dolfini (Newcastle University, UK): 
Dr Heide Wrobel Nørgaard (independent researcher, DK),

Contact persons:

Mahir Hrnjic,

Valentina Matta,

Dates and time:

30 March - 31 March 2020

On both days the course will be composed of a full day lecture starting at 9 a.m. and finishing at 5 p.m.


The course will be held at Moesgård campus, Moesgård Allé, 8270 Højbjerg, room to be announced.

Practical information regarding our PhD courses:

Participation is free of charge, but participants must pay for own travel and stay.

Refreshments available during course hours:

Coffee, tea, water and lunch is provided and paid for by the university on courses that run from the morning until mid or late afternoon. Lunch consists of sandwiches and bottled water at midday, and tea and coffee is served in the morning and mid-afternoon. Fruit or cake is served once a day during one of the coffee breaks. There are also cafes/canteens on campus with hot food, sandwiches, snacks and drinks on sale.

Course certificates:

Course certificates are issued after each course. The certificates are sent to the participants by email.

Course evaluations:

Course evaluations are conducted at the end of each course. Occasionally, the course teacher will conduct a paper-based evaluation immediately at the end of the course, and gather the information from you themselves. However, evaluations are usually sent electronically to candidates after the course has finished, and are completed and submitted online.

Campus map/locations

Course information often provides the building number and classroom or auditorium number but not a road name. The link below will take you to a map of the Aarhus University campus. Just enter the building number, with or without the classroom/auditorium number, and the location will be shown on a Google map, which provides road names. This map is also useful when planning bus and tram journeys.

Travel to and in Aarhus


The link below will take you to information about buses from Billund and Aarhus airports.

If you are arriving at Billund Airport:

The 912X bus will take you directly to Aarhus city centre or bus station (which is only two minutes’ walk from the centre). To find which stand the bus will leave from at the airport, please check the bus information board just outside the airport terminal building at the arrivals exit.

If you are arriving at Aarhus Airport:

The 952X bus will take you directly to various points in Aarhus (Nobelparken and the central train station are the most popular choices). The buses wait just outside the airport terminal at the arrivals exit and run in concordance with incoming flights.

Light-rail (letbane)

The link below will take you to information about the light-rail which runs from the north side of Aarhus to the harbour in the south of the city.

Buses in Aarhus

This link takes you directly to midttrafik’s website with information about bus travel in Aarhus, prices and journeys, and information about student rates. 


Aarhus taxa

Telephone number: 89 48 48 48


Telephone number: 48 48 48 48 / 70 25 25 25

Application deadline:

Please apply for a spot via no later than 1 March 2020.