UCL INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY
Post Doctoral Research Associate for the project
‘Supply and demand in prehistory? Economics of
Neolithic mining in NW Europe
Full Time, Grade 7
UCL Institute of Archaeology
UCL Institute of Archaeology ( http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/ ) is one of the leading academic departments of archaeology in the UK and globally. The Institute is the largest department in its field in the UK, with an international graduate research community, and the broadest range of coverage of any UK department. It offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of all fields of archaeology and related areas of cultural heritage. With a total of 60+ research-active staff pursuing high-quality research across five continents, the Institute is at the international forefront in all aspects of archaeology and heritage studies.
Applications are being sought for a full-time Post Doctoral Research Associate in the collation and analysis of data on Neolithic mining and quarrying in NW Europe, and on factors that might have affected the intensity of mining activity, such as forest clearance and population size. The postholder will be responsible to Professors Stephen Shennan and Mike Parker Pearson at UCL
Institute of Archaeology and will work closely with Dr Kevan Edinborough, the other PDRA on the project, and Dr Tim Kerig, director of the project "Simple and complex economies
– studies in the prehistory of labour (Neolithic temperate Europe)" in the Cologne-Bonn Graduate School
‘Archaeology of Pre-Modern Economies’, University of Cologne.
The post is available from 1 st
December 2015 for 36 months.
‘Supply and demand in prehistory? Economics of Neolithic mining in NW Europe’ is a three-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. It is based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology (PI Prof
Stephen Shennan, Co-I Prof Mike Parker Pearson), where both RAs will work, and at the
University of Cologne, (Co-I Dr Tim Kerig).
It addresses the question what factors influenced non-economic production in prehistory? This has long been a topic of debate in prehistoric studies, because it relates to the question of whether people in prehistory had 'economic' motivations. The project will approach these general issues by analysing the evidence for stone quarrying and flint mining and the consumption of their products by early farming communities in Britain and North-west Europe over the period c.5300-2000 BC, to address the question: what economic factors, if any, had an influence on their scale and intensity?
It will focus on Britain and NW Europe because they have outstanding data available to address our questions of interest. We now know that the quarries and mines of the Neolithic were often major enterprises, producing quantities of artefacts far beyond any imaginable requirement for local use. The project will use models from economics to explore the idea that the intensity of mining and quarrying for exchange at particular times and places depended on the size of the
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available consumer population and its varying needs for stone tools, especially the axes that were the main products, both for practical activities like clearing forests and for social display.
Achieving this aim involves obtaining a reliable measure of the periods of use of individual mines and quarries, and establishing whether their scales of exploitation are related, for example through competition or replacement; and obtaining similar reliable independent evidence of factors that might have affected demand for, and therefore potentially supply of, the products of those sources.
The first objective requires:
Updating the recent collation and evaluation of existing radiocarbon dates associated with quarrying and flint-mining by Kerig et al. (2015).
Collecting a targeted series of new dates where existing dates are not sufficient
Creating a database of find locations and the source composition of lithic assemblages at consumption sites where the source is known, from existing literature, to reconstruct quarry and mine exchange networks
The second objective requires:
Updating the proxy for regional population fluctuations during the Neolithic in the study areas compiled by the
PI’s previous project, the ERC-funded ‘Cultural Evolution of
Europe’ (EUROEVOL), using summed radiocarbon probability distributions.
Creating measures of the degree of social inequality and the intensity of social competition.
Collating available pollen data for human impacts for the regions concerned and using it to reconstruct the changing extent of forest clearance.
Creating a database of archaeological metal finds for the Neolithic (down to 2000 BC) in
NW Europe from existing catalogues, e.g. Klassen (2000).
PDRA Edinborough will carry out the majority of the data collection for objective 1, the PDRA to be appointed for objective 2 but with a contribution to the collection of the consumption data for objective 1. In addition, the RA to be appointed will create and manage the project’s GIS database. Both RAs will carry out data analysis and contribute to papers.
Research Associate in the collation and analysis of data on Neolithic mining and quarrying in NW Europe, and on factors that might have affected the intensity of mining activity, including forest clearance, population size and the circulation of copper.
The principal duty and responsibility of the post will be
To collect dating and other information from catalogues, databases and archaeological reports and to use appropriate quantitative methods to test the project hypotheses.
Over the duration of the post this will include:
Setting up and maintaining the project SQL spatial database in collaboration with the PIs
Going through relevant archaeological reports and databases to collect chronological, spatial and other relevant data
Developing and applying statistical methods to analyse radiocarbon dates and other data and to test the project hypotheses
Creating and maintaining the project website;
Presenting papers at national and international conferences;
Writing and contributing to publications in collaboration with other team members.
The post holder will maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health and Safety
PERSON SPECIFICATION Essential Desirable
Post name: Research Associate
Knowledge and experience
Institute of Archaeology
PhD in a relevant field of knowledge
Proven ability to undertake research of the highest quality, evidenced in publications
A high level of mathematical/ statistical expertise enabling the creation of tailor-made methods to address novel problems, for example using R
Extensive experience in the use of relational databases and
Systems for archaeological research, including dealing with uncertainty in archaeological data
Meticulous record keeping *
Knowledge of the
Ability to develop and maintain project website
Openness to interdisciplinary approaches
* Excellent command of
English, written and oral
Excellent interpersonal communication skills
Ability to work well as a team member and to respect local and project codes of behaviour
Ability to understand and work within UCL’s academic regulations and policies including Equal
Good command of French
and/or German in addition to English (written and/or oral)
Ability to work independently and take appropriate decisions within the RA’s specialist field
1 December 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter
The salary is on Grade 7, starting at £35,278 per annum (which includes £2919 London Allowance).
Progression through the salary scale is incremental.
Please submit an online application at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/jobs/ .
You will need to create an account and follow the procedure for online application.
Your application should include a CV, which you will need to upload, stating your academic and employment history and any additional relevant skills.
You should outline in your cover letter your reasons for applying and why you think that you are a strong candidate for the post.
Please note that uploaded attachments must be contained in one document (supported formats include word and PDF)
Please include the names and contact details (including email) of at least two referees. Please indicate whether we can contact your referees without further permission from you in advance of the interview date.
If you have any queries regarding the vacancy or the application process, please contact Louisa Goldsmith at [email protected]