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ERC-funded postdoc in Palaeolithic archaeology – University of Tübingen, Germany

The University of Tübingen is seeking a postdoctoral researcher in Palaeolithic archaeology, to be filled as soon as possible. The position is funded for 3.5 years at the German public service pay scale E 13 TV-L by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant “PALAEOSILKROAD”, and will be hosted in the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology. The goal of the PALAEOSILKROAD project is to discover new Palaeolithic sites in the Tian Shan, Dzungar, and southern Altai foothills of Kazakhstan and use them to examine how hominin dispersals, population segmentation, and behavioural adaptations are correlated with past climatic phases during the last glacial cycle (ca. 110 000-11 500 years ago). Together with the PI and the Kazakh Co-PIs, the successful candidate will develop the research program and carry out the fieldwork.


  • PhD in anthropology or archaeology with specialty in Palaeolithic archaeology
  • Demonstrated ability to lead survey and excavation teams
  • Fieldwork availability (4 seasons of 3-5 months each, beginning 2017)
  • Adequate knowledge of the Russian language or willingness to learn it quickly
  • Desirable:

    Prior experience with systematic survey, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and geomorphology

    Please send a 1-page cover letter stating your research interests along with a CV and the names of two referees to Radu Iovita ( before May 3rd, 2017.

    Applications from persons with disabilities will be given preference if all other qualifications are equal. The University of Tübingen strives to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore especially encourages qualified female scientists to apply. Employment takes place via the Central Administration of the University.

    PhD - Personal Ornaments | Université de Bordeaux


    Social and Cultural diversity during the Gravettian in Europe


    Francesco d'Errico
    Lab: UMR PACEA

    Solange Rigaud
    Lab: UMR PACEA


    It has been shown that the analysis of prehistoric personal ornaments is key to document long distance circulation networks (Eriksen, 2002; Poveda, 2012; Rigaud and Gutiérrez-Zugasti, 2016), cultural diversity of past populations (Rigaud et al., 2015; Vanhaeren, 2010; Vanhaeren and d’Errico, 2006) and their social structure (Rigaud et al., 2010; Vanhaeren and d’Errico, 2001). However, most studies only focus on the technology and function of ornaments (i.e. manufacture processes, modes of suspension….) without developing a more global, integrated approach.

    The personal ornaments from the Gravettian have been the subject of relatively few studies (c. 30-25 ka BP) (Vanhaeren and d’Errico, 2006; White, 200) compared to those of the early and later Upper Palaeolithic (Bullinger and Thew, 2006; Gravel-Miguel, 2015; Poplin, 1983; Taborin, 1991). Such a lack of documentation is surprising when considering the wide Pan-European geographic spread of this cultural adaptation and the impressive amount of personal ornaments discovered in many Gravettian primary burials. While the archaeological literature demonstrates the richness of this record (Álvarez Fernández, 2007; d’Errico and Rigaud, 2011; Taborin, 2000), only three publications have attempted to study personal ornaments of this period to reach broad conclusions on Gravettian culture and social organisation. A recent study on beads associated with Gravettian primary burials has identified a north/south divide in the bead type associations and interpreted this pattern as the reflection of cultural diversity (d’Errico and Vanhaeren 2015). Two other studies are based on information collected from Gravettian skeletons buried with their personal ornaments (Vanhaeren and d’Errico, 2003; White, 1999). Data support the idea that Gravettian communities were socially diverse and that inherited social inequality may have been in some cases at work.

    This PhD project promotes the application of similar approaches with the aim of documenting bead type association variability and characterizing the mechanisms responsible for such a diversity at the European, regional and individual scales. Collected data will provide crucial information on the cultural geography and social organization of the Gravettian communities. Ultimately, evolutionary processes involved in social and cultural diversification will be explored.

    The project will also develop methods to compare personal ornaments and biological data in order to explore in tandem the biological and cultural diversity of the Gravettian populations. The feasibility of the project is guaranteed by the richness and diversity of the personal ornaments of this period, the supervisors’ expertise in this field of research, the existence of a personal ornament database available to the PhD student, and unpublished data dealing with several major Gravettian burials previously collected by one of the supervisors.

    The bead database will be reassessed and complemented through the analysis of key archaeological assemblages. Biological information on primary burials and associated personal ornaments are available in the literature. Unpublished archaeological and biological data will be available through the development of new collaborations. The PACEA laboratory hosts a project granted by the National Agency for Research (GRAVETT'OS, directed by S. Vilotte) whose aim is, among others, to reevaluate and produce accurate anthropological data for the Gravettian.

    International collaborations with a network of geneticists and population biologists working on the Upper Palaeolithic may allow the Phd student to explore the relationship between cultural and biological diversity of past populations on new grounds.

    The pertinence of the statistical tools to process archaeological and biological data for exploring evolutionary mechanisms has already been demonstrated (Rigaud et al. PlosOne 2015, Rogers et al. PNAS 2008, Lycett PlosOne 2014). The cultural and biological diversity within and between human populations (Rzeszutek et al. 2012, Ross et al. 2013), mechanisms of convergence, blending, conservatism and the role of isolation by distance on the transfer of cultural traits over long distances (Smouse et al. 1986 , Huson and Bryant, 2006, Rigaud et al. 2015), will be tested.

    The supervisors, assisted by an international pluridisciplinary PhD committee, will provide to the PhD student the archaeological background required to build the dataset and adapted statistics training.

    Application Information

  • The preparation of the PhD entails three years research at the Bordeaux University, Pacea Laboratory under the supervision of Francesco d’Errico and Solange Rigaud.

  • As required by the University of Bordeaux, a pluridisciplinary committee will assist the supervisors and the PhD candidate during the three years research project.

  • A 3-years full salary is mandated to conduct a PhD project at the University of Bordeaux.

  • To be eligible to the 3 years fellowship, candidates should apply to the graduate school “Sciences et Environnement” of the Bordeaux University

  • Two eligible candidates will be pre-selected by the supervisors. Each candidate will then be evaluated based on her/his CV, Master thesis ranking and be interviewed by the Doctoral School committee. The candidates should have obtained their Master degree and, ideally, be ranked within the 5 best students of their academic year.

  • If the Doctoral School committee does not identify an eligible candidate, the PhD project won’t be founded.

  • Candidates should submit their application to the Doctoral School before the 02/06/2017.

  • The names of the two candidates selected for the interview will be published online the 20/06/2017.

  • During the interview the candidates will be asked to present their CV and research project for 10 min and answer questions for 5 min. The interview, which can be in French or in English, will take place at Bordeaux the 4, 5 and 6th of July 2017. Candidates unable to physically attend the interview can present their project and answer questions through videoconference.

  • The list of the candidates awarded the fellowship will be published online the 7th of July 2017.

  • The PhD project will start between September and October 2017.

  • Please note that candidates have to contact the supervisors for the pre-selections before mid-May.

  • If you're interested please write to: and
  • Postdoctoral Research Position in Archaeological Science | Aarhus University

    Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral position that will start on 1 September 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter), to research past human subsistence, diet and/or mobility by means of stable isotope analyses and other archaeological science methods.

    The DEDiT research project

    The funding for this two-year postdoctoral position has been generously made available by the Aarhus University Research Foundation (Aarhus Universitets Forskningsfond), through the project entitled “Danish and European Diets in Time (DEDiT)”.

    The successful applicant will join the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies (School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University) and a research group led by Dr. Marcello A. Mannino (Associate Professor in Archaeological Science), comprising a PhD student and a laboratory assistant. Research that has recently been undertaken as part of DEDiT includes isotopic investigations of human diets in Denmark during the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Viking Age and Middle Ages. In addition, work has started on the study of mollusc shells from prehistoric Danish middens, based on sclerochronological and high-resolution isotope approaches.

    Aarhus University has a solid research infrastructure that includes the Aarhus AMS Centre (Department of Physics and Astronomy) and the Danish Interdisciplinary Centre for Plasma Mass Spectrometry (Department of Geoscience). As part of the DEDiT project, collaborations have been undertaken and are planned with colleagues at these facilities, where sample pretreatment and isotope analyses for the postdoctoral research can be conducted.

    DEDiT is a project that aims to initiate isotope-based archaeological research at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, where a sample pretreatment laboratory is being set up. This facility will have strong work connections with Moesgaard Museum and, in particular, with its Department of Archaeological Science and Conservation. Planned methodological approaches include isotope analyses on bone and dentinal collagen (C, N, S, H), as well as on bioapatite (C, O). Additional methodologies that will be pursued are high-resolution isotope analyses of incremental-growth skeletal structures (i.e. teeth and shells).

    Research and postdoctoral project

    The successful applicant will collaborate on research that has been recently initiated, or is at the planning stage, and for which funding is available. In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will be able to pursue projects of their own, in collaboration with the principal investigator and in compliance with the time constraints of a two-year contract. Applicants should therefore include a description of their intended research project during their prospective contract, providing details of the budget, timeline and expected scientific output of the work.

    Proposed projects can focus on materials from prehistoric or historic periods, but should preferably focus on southern Scandinavia or northern Europe (depending on the interest of the research, proposals regarding materials from further afield may also be taken into account). The research should ideally be based on one or more of the methodological approaches described above, although preference will be given to projects that aim to reconstruct life histories through isotope analyses. Research that combines isotopic methods with physical anthropology, zooarchaeology or archaeobotany is also of interest.

    Qualifications and job requirements

    Applicants for the position must hold a PhD or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject and should also document:

  • expertise in the application of isotope analyses on organic archaeological remains
  • relevant laboratory experience and analytical skills
  • an international research profile, as well as excellent research quality
  • the ability to work independently and in collaboration within a research group.

  • The successful candidate will be encouraged to apply for funding, and expected to present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed international scientific journals in a timely fashion. The position may involve some teaching commitments, as agreed upon with the head of department and principal investigator of the project.

    The application must be submitted in English.

    For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Marcello A. Mannino (

    For more information about the application, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn ( at the School of Culture and Society.

    Qualification requirements

    Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


    All applications must be made online and received by:
    Please apply online here

    For more information, please visit the job description