Postdoctoral Research Associate in Archaeology (CLaSS project)

Updated: 29 days ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Archaeology (CLaSS project) (
Job Number:
Department of Archaeology
Grade 7: - £34,304 - £40,927 per annum/ pro rata
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 15 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 29-Aug-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

Interviews will be held on 16th September - Interviews will be via Teams (online) 
Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.


The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.


Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.


Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

Durham University’s Department of Archaeology is one of the UK’s best, with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. We are regularly ranked one of the top three Archaeology departments in the UK (e.g. 2nd Research Excellence Framework [REF] 2021 and one of the top ten globally (World University QS rankings 2021). Our expertise covers a broad chronological and geographical span, from the Palaeolithic to the present-day, and from South Asia to the Mediterranean, Europe and the British Isles, We have a strong research presence in Southwest Asia, that embraces fieldwork, visual and material culture studies and bioarchaeology.  We have a range of cutting-edge laboratories, including well-developed facilities for isotopic research, extensive commercial infrastructure, and a network of heritage-sector collaborators. The Department of Archaeology works closely with staff in two Durham University museums, the Oriental Museum and the Museum of Archaeology. These house some outstanding archaeological collections, including East and Western Asian antiquities. For further information on our current projects, research and teaching see

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the field of the landscape archaeology of Southwest Asia, working on the Climate, Landscape, Settlement and Society: Exploring Human-Environmental Interaction in the Ancient Near East (CLaSS) project ( ). The project is funded by the ERC and began in 2019, and the postholder will report to the project PI, Dr Dan Lawrence. The CLaSS project investigates the relationship between climate fluctuations and the emergence of complex social and political formations over the Holocene. The project has been collecting archaeological settlement data and archaeobotanical data (plant and tree remains) and zooarchaeological data for the entire Fertile Crescent region, and combining these with climate simulations derived from General Circulation Models (GCMs). The resulting datasets represent the largest of their kind ever compiled, covering the entire Holocene and an area of 600,000km2. The postholder will be responsible for the maintenance and organisation of the existing settlement datasets and database, and will also lead on the development of land use models using a variety of techniques and drawing on the full range of data sources available within the project. They will have access to the university supercomputing services to support this work. They may also be required to produce maps and perform simple spatial analysis for other members of the project, such as the archaeobotanical team. They will be involved in publications, with opportunities as both a first and co-author, and will also engage in project-related administration and other activities supporting the work of a project. The Durham team is collaborating with partners at the Universities of Tübingen and Leeds, and there may be opportunities to travel for research visits and conferences.


The successful applicant will be expected to make a significant contribution to the following priority areas of CLaSS research activity at Durham, which are focused on the analysis of large scale patterns of settlement and land use across the Fertile Crescent. This will include:


  • Diachronic analyses of regional and inter-regional change in settlement and demography
  • Drawing on a range of spatial modelling techniques and datasets to model land use at regional scales
  • Develop techniques for integrating climate, environmental and archaeological data

Responsibilities  :
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   


This post is fixed term for 15 months, beginning in October 2022, and ending at the completion of the project funding persiod at the end of December 2023 .


The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1st October 2022



How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Dan Lawrence ( .  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 


We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. . As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.


Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University  .

What to Submit
All applicants are asked to submit:
  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in September 2022 .







The Requirements
  • Qualifications
    • A good first degree in Archaeology or a related subject .
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Archaeology  or a related subject.

  • Experience
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international  conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
    • Experience in landscape archaeology in Southwest Asia (broadly defined .

  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Experience with GIS and spatial analysis for archaeological research. 
    • Familiarity with open-source software including R and QGIS. 

  • Experience
    • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
    • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
    • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
    • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
    • Experience in land use and/or ecological modelling .

  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 
    • Familiarity with remote sensing datasets and machine learning in archaeological contexts. 
    • Familiarity and ability to engage with supercomuting facilities. 

    DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.
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