Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Zooarchaeology
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.
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. 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.
We are currently offering a 2-year funded Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Zooarchaeology. 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).
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 interests, including the anthropogenic shaping of environments and species; the impacts of past climate change on human societies; the co-evolution of humans and domesticated species; human dispersals and migration; and the effects of increasing complexity, urbanisation and globalisation on human populations and societies. Preference will be given to candidates proposing projects focused on Asia and Africa.
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 Zooarchaeology
A Postdoctoral Research Fellow is sought to develop new projects and provide zooarchaeological support to several of the Department’s interdisciplinary, collaborative field projects in Africa and Asia. The Department particularly seeks candidates who can develop and build on projects that employ the method of Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) to undertake secure species identifications. The successful applicant will play an active role in developing ZooMS applications to new zooarchaeological and palaeoecological datasets and research questions. Prior experience in ZooMS is not essential. Interest in collaborating in the application of stable isotopic studies to faunal datasets is also desirable.
The successful candidate will have a strong record of fieldwork, labwork and publication relating to zooarchaeology. He/she is expected to have a strong background in faunal identification through morphological study, taphonomic investigation and the statistical analysis of quantitative datasets. Additional skills in geometric morphometric analysis, ZooMS, and/or stable isotopic analysis are desirable. Applicants should be able to demonstrate competence in working alongside interdisciplinary archaeological teams, and coordinating laboratory and analysis strategies with archaeologists and diverse scientists.
The Department of Archaeology is in the process of developing ZooMS reference datasets for various parts of Asia and Africa, and is keen to maximise the utility of these datasets to address a range of questions. Zooarchaeologists keen to acquire and/or develop ZooMS capabilities in order to address research questions in these regions are particularly encouraged to apply. The successful applicant will work closely with supervisors and other staff members to develop and undertake collaborative research projects. The successful candidate will also provide support to other researchers and students in the department, assisting in in the planning and implementation of fieldwork and/or laboratory research on several projects.
- Have or be about to obtain a PhD degree or qualification equivalent in archaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeological science or a closely related field.
- A strong record of peer-reviewed publication.
- Training and experience in zooarchaeological field and lab studies.
- Experience with various zooarchaeological laboratory techniques.
- Effective time management skills and ability to efficiently coordinate research analyses through to publication.
- An interest in the application of archaeological science techniques to zooarchaeological questions (including ZooMS and stable isotopic analysis), and the development or acquisition of laboratory skills.
- Absolute reliability and a strong sense of responsibility.
- Ability to multi-task, find creative solutions to problems when necessary, and meet tight deadlines.
- Expertise in the zooarchaeology of Africa or Asia.
- Experience of Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry.
- Skills in statistical analysis and/or bioinformatics.
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