The Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, seeks to appoint a full-time PhD candidate to carry out research at the thematic intersection of Bioarchaeology, Isotope Geochemistry, and Computer Science. The successful candidate will join the Department of Archaeological Sciences and Bioarchaeology Research Group of our Faculty, and will be appointed as a guest researcher at the Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The research should lead you to obtain a PhD within a four-year timeframe (1.0 FTE).
The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jason E. Laffoon (PI), Associate Professor at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, and Dr. Lisette Kootker, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
The PhD candidate’s research is part of the NWO-funded Vidi project: PastPorts
: tracking migrant origins with an integrated isotopic approach.The PastPorts project will focus on two connected overarching goals: 1) Conducting fundamental research assessing the isotopic ecology of the Caribbean region; and 2) Determining the geographic origins of ancient migrants. These goals will be achieved by refining and integrating several cutting-edge advances in isotope analyses, modelling spatial variation of multiple isotopes using machine learning approaches (isoscapes), and predicting individual origins using quantitative geographic assignment approaches. Recent research, including pioneering studies led by the applicant, have demonstrated the potential of these methods to identify the geographic origins of migrants with increasing precision.
The PastPorts project
is divided into three interconnected subprojects:
SP1: Developing Multiple Isoscapes
SP2: Predicting migrant origins
SP3: Understanding Migration Life Histories
The successful candidate will be expected to lead subproject 1, under the supervision of the PI and in collaboration with other team members, and make substantive contributions to subprojects 2 and 3. Key tasks
- Conduct collaborative and novel research in the field of Isotope Bioarchaeology;
- Contribute to the overall aims of the PastPorts Project;
- Conduct research activities, including sample collection, processing, and analyses with project partners in the Caribbean, United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands;
- Carry out isotope analyses of archaeological and ecological sample materials;
- Analyze and integrate various types of archaeological, bioarchaeological, isotopic, and spatial datasets;
- Develop, construct, and use maps of spatial isotope variation (isoscapes);
- Publish and present the work in international peer-reviewed journals and to academic and professional audiences, both independently and with team members;
- Actively participate in discussions at the faculty, department, and research group level on research innovation;
- Follow PhD courses based on an individual training and supervision plan, including through the Graduate School;
- Obtain a PhD by publishing several articles in peer-reviewed academic journals on a topic related to the research topics outlined above within a four-year timeframe.