Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Geoarchaeology 2019, Germany


May 24, 2019


Opportunity Cover Image - Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Geoarchaeology 2019, Germany

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Geoarchaeology

The Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) is a leading global centre for archaeology that combines expertise in field and laboratory methods. Our research is focused on developing and implementing cutting-edge new methods for exploring our species’ past. To do this, we work at the interface of multiple disciplines, including archaeology, ecology, biology, and evolutionary studies. We are interested in how a deep time perspective can shed new light on contemporary issues ranging from climate change and anthropogenic environmental impacts to migration, inequality, and food security.

Our community and working environment

Our student and post-doctoral community is international and diverse. We are a lively, friendly, and active department that hosts a broad variety of projects, workshops, conferences, meetings, speakers and other events. We prioritise training students and postdoctoral researchers not only in research methods and skills, but in all aspects of academic life, providing professional development training to ensure our students and postdoctoral researchers reach their best potential, and are fully prepared for the job market, for applying for funding, and for dealing with the challenges of academic life. The success of this approach is reflected in our placement rates. Although we are a young department, we have a strong record of placing postdoctoral researchers in tenure-track and other academic positions.

We are committed to encouraging diversity and actively challenging biases based on gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and other components of identity.  We strive to undertake ethical research, and to foreground training and capacity building as a core part of our international research. To this end, we have established the International Application of Archaeological Science training programme, which is held annually in our Department, and welcomes scholars from around the world for intensive training in archaeological science methods.

Our working language is English.

Our facilities

We have world-leading facilities for archaeological science. These include extensive facilities for bulk and compound-specific stable isotope studies, lipid and alkane analyses, Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS), proteomics, SEM and light microscopy, and microfossil studies, as well as laboratories for archaeobotany and zooarchaeology. We are in the process of expanding our laboratory facilities to include amino acid and metabolite capabilities, and AMS radiocarbon dating. We also have extensive equipment for digital field archaeology, as well as laboratory facilities for 3-D scanning and analysis, photography and geospatial modelling. We additionally have access to the extensive laboratory facilities of the Institute for Geosciences at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Our work is supported by expertise in database management, statistical analysis and bioinformatics, as well as central facilities for media outreach and third party funding applications. Our institute is home to an International Max Planck Research School that supports student activities and teaching.

We have active projects around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia.

Our offer

We are currently offering a 2-year funded Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Geoarchaeology. The suitable candidate will develop a programme of research in collaboration with their supervisors, will take leadership of that programme, and will see the research through to publication. Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in the Department of Archaeology are extendable in exceptional circumstances, such as when postdoctoral researchers demonstrate significant success in terms of their research programme, publication output and commitment to the building and success of the department.

We offer a flexible start date, ideally between 1 July 1 and 1 October, 2019. The successful applicant will be provided with intellectual, technical and resource support for the development of world-leading research, and will have the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and group leaders. The pay scale is according to the German pay grade system for public employees (TVöD).

Our expectation

The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History provides a research-focused environment for scholars to develop innovative, world-leading projects. We seek Postdoctoral Research Fellows with a passion for cross-disciplinary, team-oriented research, and an ability to work efficiently and complete projects in a timely manner. Postdoctoral researchers are expected to publish findings in top-tier, international research journals, and to support media interest in their research. Candidates should demonstrate an ability to finish projects to the publication stage, and to formulate research articles that fill key gaps and answer central questions in their fields of study.

The successful candidate will develop projects collaboratively with supervisors in the Department of Archaeology, and work in an interdisciplinary fashion. Research projects should address the Department’s core thematic and regional interests.

We expect our postdoctoral researchers to play an active role in department life, and to contribute to supporting the department in a variety of ways. Our postdoctoral researchers help teach, train and supervise students, run committees, organise research, professional development and social events, and create a supportive environment for all staff members and visitors.

Position-specific details: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Geoarchaeology

A Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Geoarchaeology is sought to provide geoarchaeological support to several of the Department’s interdisciplinary, collaborative field projects in Africa and Asia. Research will include in-depth investigation of the depositional context and environmental history of numerous archaeological sites of diverse chronologies and contexts, including cave sites. The successful applicant will conduct fieldwork, placing archaeological finds in proper stratigraphic, chronological, environmental and depositional context.

The successful candidate will have a strong record of fieldwork and publication relating to geoarchaeology, and be able to demonstrate experience of conducting geoarchaeological and palaeoenvironmental research at Holocene or Late Pleistocene archaeological sites. He/she is expected to have a strong background in geoarchaeological fieldwork, stratigraphic logging and interpretation, field sampling, and laboratory experience relating to the investigation of Pleistocene and/or Holocene archaeological sites. Applicants should be able to demonstrate competence in working alongside interdisciplinary archaeological field teams, and coordinating field and analysis strategies with archaeologists and diverse scientists. Experience of fieldwork and excavation is essential.

The successful applicant will have laboratory experience in geoarchaeology and/or environmental science. The candidate will help to establish laboratory facilities for the processing of samples at the MPI-SHH, as well as undertake some analyses at collaborating institutions. Ideally, candidates should also have working knowledge of a diversity of scientific methods that can be applied to geomorphological samples. Candidates should be able to demonstrate an ability to bring diverse sources of data together to publication, as well as an in depth understanding of key issues in geoarchaeology and environmental science.

The successful applicant will work in concert with their supervisors and diverse site teams to undertake comprehensive geoarchaeological and palaeo-environmental studies at current field sites of the Department of Archaeology. Topics addressed by the research include the relationship between climatic and environmental change and site formation, spatial documentation of human activities within sites, the link between climate change and human palaeodemography, and dispersal processes. The successful candidate will also provide support to other researchers and students in the department, assisting in in the planning and implementation of fieldwork on several projects.

Your qualifications



  • Have or be about to obtain a PhD degree or qualification equivalent in Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Archaeological Science or a closely related field.
  • A strong record of peer-reviewed publication.
  • Training and experience in geoarchaeological fieldwork, particularly relating to sites and locales occupied by prehistoric hunter-gatherers or early farmers.
  • Experience with various geoarchaeological laboratory techniques.
  • Effective time management skills and ability to efficiently coordinate research analyses through to publication.
  • Absolute reliability and a strong sense of responsibility.
  • Ability to multi-task, find creative solutions to problems when necessary, and meet tight deadlines.


  • Experience of fieldwork in Asia or Africa.
  • Experience of cave geoarchaeology.
  • Experience in working with interdisciplinary scientists to obtain field samples, including for diverse chronometric and environmental analyses.
  • Experience working in Heritage Management/Cultural Resource Management.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

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Publish Date
April 22, 2019