PhD position in Arctic Landscape Archaeology (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 17 days ago
Deadline: 09 May 2024

PhD position in Arctic Landscape Archaeology (1.0 FTE) (V24.0201)
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Job description

We are seeking self-motivated applicants for a four-year, fully-funded PhD position focusing on compiling, modeling and mapping archaeological data on subsistence harvesting among Inuit (from ca. AD 1250 to 1950) across the ecologically-rich land- sea- and icescapes of the Foxe Basin region of central Nunavut, Inuit Nunangat (the traditional Inuit territories of what is now Canada). There will be a significant focus on theorizing archaeological-data accessibility and visualization for both general and specific audiences; of particular interest is how such datasets can best be built, accessed and utilized by Inuit.

The PhD research will comprise “Nirjutiqarviulauqtut (ᓂᕐᔪᑎᕐᑲᕐᕕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ)” (North Baffin Inuktitut for ‘Places where animals were found’), a sub-project of TRACES (Tracking Resilience in Arctic Sociocultural-Ecological Systems), a multidisciplinary research initiative, funded by the European Research Council, to document and contextualize long-term human-animal/human-environment relationships in northern Foxe Basin. With the ultimate goal of co-creating a cultural-historical atlas of past animal harvesting in the region, the successful candidate will

• conduct archival research in cooperation with local cultural organizations and governmental data repositories
• synthesize existing metadata on known archaeological sites in the Foxe Basin region, and model these data using GIS; and
• carry out limited, supervised archaeological fieldwork (primarily non-invasive survey) alongside local experts in the Foxe Basin region in order to fill gaps in our current knowledge of premodern/historic site nature and distribution.

Additional research avenues could address (1) intervisibility of archaeological sites vis-à-vis changing environmental/climatic conditions; (2) analysis of viewsheds and the phenomenology of land-, sea- and icescapes; and/or (3) remote-sensing-based machine-learning applications for archaeological modeling and survey. Importantly, this work will be carried out in close cooperation with Amitturmiut/Iglulingmiut rights-holders in and around the hamlet of Iglulik (Igloolik), and the research foci may develop along different lines according to community priorities for knowledge-building about the past.

The researcher will be based at the Arctic Centre (est. 1970), part of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), and will be supervised by TRACES principal investigator Dr Sean Desjardins, an anthropological archaeologist, and Dr Frits Steenhuisen, an environmental scientist and specialist in GIS applications. The candidate will work alongside other TRACES researchers, as well as with graduate students and postgraduate researchers studying a wide array of topics at the Arctic Centre and the GIA.

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 34,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor's programmes and over 35 Master's specializations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Art History, Linguistics, and Media and Journalism Studies.


To be competitive for the position, prospective candidates must have

• a Master’s degree in a relevant humanities or social science discipline (e.g., Archaeology, Cultural Geography, Physical Geography, Anthropology or Indigenous Studies)
• knowledge of Inuit culture history, or a willingness and enthusiasm to learn; and
• training and experience using GIS mapping software, such as ArcGIS or QGIS
• previous participation working in remote/challenging field conditions (e.g., camping)
• willingness and ability to travel extensively (especially in Canada) throughout the PhD project period
• the ability to work independently and within a group
• a willingness to share knowledge and data within the TRACES project to ensure interconnections between the projects; and
• an excellent command of written and spoken English
• the willingness to move and reside in The Netherlands.

The following would be assets for prospective candidates

• previous experience in Arctic archaeology
• knowledge of Python or a related programming language.

Knowledge of Dutch is not required. We especially encourage applications from scholars identifying as Indigenous, persons of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBTQ2SIA+ persons.

Conditions of employment

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer

• a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued. The PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 FTE teaching spread over the second, third and fourth year of their appointment
• excellent work-life balance.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The appointment will ideally commence on 1 July 2024. We allow 3 months from selection in case of VISA applications.


Your application packet (see submission instructions below) should include

• a cover (motivation) letter—not exceeding two single-spaced pages—clearly indicating your interest in the position and highlighting reasons you believe your experience is suited to the position
• a brief, up-to-date curriculum vitae that focuses on aspects that are directly relevant to the position
• copies of academic transcripts, showing grades/marks for the Master’s program
• a writing sample in the form of an academic research essay/article or similar not to exceed 20 pages; and
• names and contact information of two academic references (Please do not submit letters of reference. If necessary, we will contact the referees ourselves).

You may apply for this position until 8 May 11:59pm / before 9 May 2024 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.


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