Dr. Tobias Skowronek

I am a researcher interested in the global metal trade of the later medieval and early modern era. In the last couple of years, I have been looking into the transatlantic economies, the European trade with West Africa and the plantation economies of the Americas following the question of who produced the metals for these particular markets. Recently I have a special focus on the involvement of German metal merchants in the production of barter goods for the enslaved. 

My research expertise is a PhD. in Geochemistry from the Faculty of Geosciences of the Ruhr-University Bochum a MA in Economic and raw material Archaeology and BA in Archaeological Science both from the Institute of Archaeological Studies of the Ruhr-University.

Before, I have been working for several years for the German Mining Museum (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, DBM) and the University of Applied Sciences Georg Agricola where I worked on the physio-chemical characterization of various archaeological materials such as metals, pigments & plasters and stone objects. I also have experience as a raw material trader having worked for ThyssenKrupp Materials Trading.


Skowronek, TB., Weber, K., 2023 Networks of Brass and Textiles during the Transatlantic Space Trade in: Jarzebowski, C., (Des) Cultural Heritage and German Global history: new perspectives (Bonn) accepted in press.

Vink, H.E., Skowronek, TB., Lost on their way to Africa. On the provenance of brass rod ingots produced for the 18th century AD slave trade found on shipwreck Paul 27.1 on the island of Terschelling, the Netherlands in: Hugin, L., Walker, Vadillo, V., (Des.) Cultural Studies in maritime and Underwater Archaeology, papers presented at IKUWA VII (Helsinki) accepted in press.

 von Arbin, S., Douglas Smith, K., Skowronek TB., 2023. The Marstrand Cannon: The earliest evidence of shipboard artillery in Europe?, The Mariner’s Mirror, 109:3, 260-282, DOI: 10.1080/00253359.2023.2225311

Skowronek TB, DeCorse CR, Denk R, Birr SD, Kingsley S, Cook GD, et al., 2023. German brass for Benin Bronzes: Geochemical analysis insights into the early Atlantic trade. PLoS ONE 18(4): e0283415. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0283415

von Arbin, S., Skowronek, T., Seir, T., Isaksson, S., Daly, A., Brorsson T., 2022. Tracing trade routes: examining the cargoes of the 15th century Skaftö wreck. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, DOI: 10.1080/10572414.2022.2076518.

Skowronek, T., Hauptmann, A., Segschneider, M., Auer, J., von Arbin, S., Maass, A., Pappot, A., Maarleveld, Th., Brink, N., 2021. Reißscheiben as a potential indicator forcopper qualities produced in the major mining districts in the Early Modern Period. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 39, (2021), 103155.

Skowronek, T., 2021. Geochemische Charakterisierung von Buntmetallbarren und Halbfabrikaten der Frühneuzeit zur Beantwortung historischer Fragestellungen,PhD- thesis, Ruhr-University Bochum hss-opus.ub.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/opus4/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/8248/file/diss.pdf

Segschneider, M., Skowronek, T., 2021. Die Herkunft der Helgoländer Kupfer-Reißscheiben und die Bedeutung der Insel Helgoland als Rohstoffquelle in der Stein- und Bronzezeit, Siedlungs- und Küstenforschung im südlichen Nordseegebiet, 44, 25-36.

Skowronek, T., Hauptmann, A., von Rüden, C., 2020. Using spinel chemistry to characterise archaeological steatite found in the wall paintings of Tell el-Dab´a, Egypt, Journal of Archaeological Science 117, 105137

Von Rueden C., Skowronek, T., 2018. Between Common Craft Tradition and Deviation. The Making of Stucco Reliefs in the Eastern Mediterranean, in: J. Becker, J. Jungfleisch, C. von Rüden (eds), Tracing Technoscapes. The Production of Bronze Age Wall Paintings in the Eastern Mediterranean (Leiden: Sidestone) 213-231.

Skowronek, T. Courcier, A., Stöllner, T., 2017. The ritual interplay: Gold mining practice in the late 4th and early 3rd millenium BC, Appendix, in: B.V. Eriksen, A.Abegg-Wigg, R. Bleile, U. Ickerodt (Hrsg.), Interaktion ohne Grenzen, Beispiele archäologischer Forschungen am Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts, Festschrift für C. von Carnap, Schleswig, 119 – 136.