Two PhD positions in luminescence dating of earthworks - human landscape modifications in the spotlight

Two PhD positions in luminescence dating of earthworks - human landscape modifications in the spotlight

Published Deadline Location
25 Sep 1 Nov Wageningen

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Job description

Do you want to unravel when, why and how people modified the Dutch landscape to deal with challenges and seize opportunities? Are you motivated to link scientific dating methods, archaeology and public outreach? Then we invite you to apply for a PhD position in our team!

We are looking for two hardworking PhD candidates to investigate past human landscape modifications with sophisticated methods. Specifically, you will develop and improve luminescence dating methods to determine when earthworks in the Netherlands were constructed, extended and/or modified. In collaboration with archaeologists, earth and soil scientists you will thereby help to reconstruct the evolution of the Dutch cultural landscape.
We envisage that one PhD candidate will focus on the low parts of the Netherlands, where most earthworks relate to the challenges of living with water (e.g. dikes and dwelling mounds).

The other PhD candidate will focus on the sandy regions, where many earthworks relate to agricultural practices (e.g. celtic fields, banks and plaggic soils). However, a different task division (e.g. method vs. application) may also be possible depending on skills and experience of the selected candidates.

The PhD projects are part of the interdisciplinary EARTHWORK project, funded through the NWO program 'Future directions in Dutch archaeological research'. EARTHWORK is a collaborative project in which Wageningen University joins forces with archaeological companies, research institutes, NGOs and museums. You should be motivated to interact and collaborate with these diverse stakeholders throughout the project and you are expected to communicate results with scientific peers as well as with professional archaeologists and the general public. The research should result in a PhD thesis, which consists of several publishable chapters.


Wageningen University & Research


  • Passion, creativity, and a proactive demeanor;
  • ambition to work in a multidisciplinary team and affinity with human landscape interactions in past, present and future;
  • MSc degree in Physical Geography, Archaeometry, Soil Sciences, Physics, or related field;
  • desire to perform fieldwork, laboratory work, and statistical analyses of complex datasets;
  • excellent communication skills and proficiency in English (both oral and written, similar to CEFR C1 level);
  • ability to learn Dutch through an intensive course if needed; familiarity with the Dutch language and landscape is regarded as an advantage but is not a prerequisite;
  • preparedness to supervise MSc and BSc thesis projects related to your research project, and to contribute to SGL teaching activities (10-15% of your employment).

Conditions of employment

A versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere. You will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (4 years total) if you perform well. Working part-time (0.8 fte for 5 years) is also possible.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can be agreed on to foster an efficient balance between work and private life;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6,500 employees, and 12,500 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas are at the heart of the outstanding approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

The Soil Geography and Landscape group (SGL) is part of the Wageningen University Soil Science cluster. The mission of SGL is to improve and share understanding of soil patterns and landscape dynamics. We take an integrative approach that combines biophysical and human elements to gain insight in past, present and future system dynamics, and to support sustainable land management. At the Netherlands Centre for Luminescence dating (NCL) we develop new and improved luminescence dating methods, and we apply these for our own research and in collaboration with external partners. The NCL laboratory is well-equipped with modern sample-preparation facilities, five state-of-the-art luminescence readers, and supported by two analysts.


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 655701


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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