PhD studentships in East African Archaeobotany and Agent-Based Modelling

Posted on 16 March 2014

Two fully-funded doctoral positions available in the department

The AAREA Project (The Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa) is funded by a European Research Council ‘Starting Grant’, and is hosted by the Department of Archaeology at the University of York in partnership with the Geography Department at Durham University, with research collaborators across Europe and east Africa.  The project is offering two fully funded PhD studentships, one in archaeobotany, and another in agent-based modelling.  The three-year studentships include University tuition fees and a stipend to cover living costs, with these stipends following the rate set by the British Research Councils: currently £13,726 per year.

The successful candidates for both studentships will participate in the collection, analysis and publication of field data from two sites: the abandoned intensive agricultural landscape at Engaruka in Tanzania, and the active terraced landscape around Konso in southwestern Ethiopia.  In studying these sites the project aims to assess the long-term sustainability of these systems, and thereafter to move beyond a focus on these specific locations to present a frank and realistic appraisal the role archaeology can play in sustainability debates worldwide.

The successful candidate for the archaeobotanical study (PhD1) will undertake the collection, processing and analysis of preserved botanical material with an emphasis on macro-remains; will collaborate with team members and partners in the interpretation and dissemination of project results; and will receive support and training in archaeobotany from specialists within the Department of Archaeology, York, and from Professor Dorian Fuller at UCL.  Knowledge of the role of botanical research within archaeological projects is essential, whilst knowledge and experience of archaeobotanical/palaeoenvironmental sampling, processing and analytical techniques is desirable.

The successful candidate for the agent-based modelling study (PhD2) will undertake the development of an agent-based model under the supervision of Professor John Wainwright; will participate in fieldwork in east Africa; and will collaborate with team members and partners in the interpretation and dissemination of project results.  Although archaeology is the lead discipline, candidates from any relevant field are encouraged to apply, since modelling in this context could have a range of applications spanning the physical and social sciences, including soil erosion histories, irrigation management, predictions of agricultural yields, and culturally-specific farm management practices.  No previous experience in modelling is required as training will be provided, but motivation to develop new skills in modelling will be essential, as is knowledge and experience in the use of databases and/or Geographical Information Systems for the storage and interrogation of data.

It is anticipated that both positions will commence in July 2014.  Applicants for both posts must meet the University of York’s eligibility criteria for PhD study, and should apply online, using the ‘Personal Statement’ and ‘Research Proposal’ sections to outline their suitability for their chosen post.

Want more information?

Contact Dr Daryl Stump before completing the online application for PhD study

Closing date for applications: 11 April 2014