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Postdoctoral research associate in "Timescales of Change"

Call for applications

PostDoc in Bayesian Chronological Modelling (36 months fulltime, starting 01/01/2021)
With the renewal of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre ‘Scales of Transformation: Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies’ (CRC1266), the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA) seeks to appoint a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) specialising in Bayesian chronological modelling of archaeological sequences, within sub-project G1 ‘Timescales of Change’ (PI Dr John Meadows).


The project

G1 aims to apply international best-practice methods of Bayesian chronological modelling within the CRC, to identify chronological problems faced by case-study sub-projects and develop and test methods to address them. In phase 1 (2016–2020), challenges often focussed on radiocarbon (14C) sample selection and measurement, and the use of appropriate prior information in Bayesian chronological models of site-based sequences. These issues will still be important in phase 2 (2020–2024), but as sub-projects broaden their research to include transformations at regional and supra-regional levels, it will become


The position

Funding is available for 36 months (Jan 2021–Dec 2023) fulltime employment at TVL-E13. The PDRA will share an office either on the campus of the Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, or at the ZBSA, a non-university research institute within the Stiftung Schleswig- Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig. There will be regular meetings in Kiel throughout the project and annual 1–2 day workshops elsewhere in Schleswig-Holstein.

The PDRA will work with the PI of G1 and collaborators within CRC1266, approximately 50% on chronologies of CRC1266 case-study subprojects and 50% on the main challenges of developing and testing methods to create and use archaeological time-series, and obtaining higher-resolution chronologies where permitted by new calibration data. The PDRA will generate and analyse synthetic 14C results corresponding to the patterns or fluctuations perceived by CRC 1266 members in their legacy data. With a modest 14C dating budget (c.40 samples/year), the PDRA will aim to validate or replace legacy 14C dates that are particularly influential in data patterning, and to replicate a proportion of new 14C dates for quality control purposes. The PDRA will use and develop a database for new 14C dates, and may also supervise the work of student research assistants.

The PDRA will be encouraged to develop his/her original research ideas, as long as they are compatible with G1’s objectives, and, in addition to training through supervised and collaborative research, will have training opportunities to develop transferable skills. The PDRA should aim to be the lead author of papers in peer-reviewed journals to disseminate

the results of joint research in CRC1266. Support for publication costs (open access fees) is usually available through the CRC, DFG, the university and/or the state of Schleswig- Holstein. The PDRA will be expected to contribute to and sometimes lead internal seminars of the CRC and ZBSA, conference presentations, and public events, and to attend project meetings and workshops. G1’s budget includes some travel funding to support conference attendance.


The applicant

Applicants should be legally entitled to work in the European Union. The Stiftung Schleswig- Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf is committed to actively promote equal opportunities of all members of staff. We therefore encourage applications from all qualified persons irrespective of their cultural or social origin, age, gender, religion, philosophy of life, disabilities or sexual preferences. Persons with registered disabilities will, with appropriate qualifications, competence, and expertise, be employed preferentially.


The following criteria will be used to rank eligible applicants:





  • PhD in any relevant field, which must be finished at time of appointment

  • undergraduate or Masters degree in archaeology or related field

Work experience

  • any professional research role

  • publication record appropriate to career stage

  • archaeological fieldwork

  • work experience in laboratory environment

  • work experience in museum setting

  • postdoctoral research at a university

  • editing or proofreading for academic publication


  • capacity to independently choose and apply appropriate mathematical or statistical methods

  • excellent IT skills, including programming in R or similar, use of Access databases

  • in-depth understanding of a scientific dating technique (preferably 14C)

  • advanced research skills in archaeology (preferably European prehistory)

  • proficiency in the use of Bayesian chronological modelling software (e.g. OxCal, BCal, ChronoModel)


  • ability to converse, present, read and write in academic English

  • ability to converse in German and read academic publications

  • ability to read academic publications in other European languages


  • interest in archaeology

  • ability to work independently and collaboratively in an academic environment

  • appetite for analytical and technical problem-solving

  • critical approach to previous research

  • willingness to travel if necessary

  • openness to interdisciplinary collaboration


The application

Informal enquiries should be directed to John Meadows. Applications consisting of a cover letter, brief résumé, copies of relevant publications (or unpublished written work, e.g. PhD thesis), should be sent to Sirka Feddersen by e-mail by 20 September 2020, with contact details for 2 referees. Please do not include any personal information which is not directly relevant to the position. Applications will be treated confidentially, and in strict compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). Referees will not be contacted before shortlisting, which will be based solely on the written application. Interviews will be held via Zoom in early October 2020.

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