Published Deadline Location
15 Feb 15 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

Do you want to make a contribution to the sustainable management of European Landscapes? And do research in TERRANOVA’s South-West-European field laboratory? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Location: Amsterdam
FTE: 1,0

Job description
The PhD position is part of the European Training Network TERRANOVA (H2020 ITN) in which 15 PhD fellows will collaborate to increase long-term understanding of landscape histories and land use strategies in Europe. This PhD will investigate detailed archaeological reconstructions and analyses of human occupation history, settlement patterns and land use systems of prehistoric and early historic societies, located in parts of Spain and Portugal. There will be special focus on the long-term impact of human land-use in this highland area that is dissected by floodplains and has a Temperate-Atlantic/ Mediterranean Atlantic climate. As a PhD student you will reconstruct the long-term impact of human land use considering variable ecological conditions, periodicity of tree cover reduction and desertification. The PhD will identify energy regimes and their transitions in human-environment reconstructions in SW Europe and will deliver a synthesis.

This PhD project will be jointly supervised by three supervisors. Three secondments will take place: to the University of Uppsala, to the Spanish Association for the Quaternary Study, and to the University of Evora.

Your duties

  • analyze literature, conduct regional analysis and agent-based modelling
  • publish scientific papers and deliver synthesis
  • interact and collaborate with other PhD students in the project
  • interpret and reconstruct scientific analysis in terms of landscape histories and (shifts in) energy regimes 


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • outstanding MA/MSc (or equivalent degree) in Archaeology, Geography or related fields
  • previous experience in working with Geographical Information Systems
  • interdisciplinary skills and strong interest in environmental issues, land-use history, and historical ecology
  • next to English, an academic reading ability in Spanish and Portuguese
  • work or study outside the Netherlands is an important experience of the successful candidate following the eligibility requirements of Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Conditions of employment

  • a challenging position in a socially involved organization
  • participation in a team of leading scientists in different fields of academia and commerce (science, landscape management, modelling and imaging techniques)
  • a prestigious EU fellowship in which you will develop multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research skills, and take part in an excellent training programme covering human-environment interaction, landscape histories, reconstruction, and management, energy regimes and spatial planning, among others
  • the opportunity to establish a professional network in academia, business organizations and NGO’s
  • internships and visits to different disciplinary institutes within industry and academia

The appointment will initially be for 1 years. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 2 more years.
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.


Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.
The Department of Archaeology has a long-standing tradition in Mediterranean field archaeology in particularly in colonial and landscape archaeology. The department has a strong research track record and has been recently very successful in acquiring funding for new research projects (e.g. HORIZON2020, NWO). The HORIZON2020 Terra Nova project aims at improving our diachronic long-term understanding of landscape histories and land use strategies in Europe in the Holocene and Anthropocene. Regional and continental syntheses will be used to anchor a new generation of landscape and climate change models, which include the effects of past human actions and generate scenarios for landscape management and rewilding. Ultimately, this project will contribute to identifying major previous shifts in resource use and energy regimes and provide options for the future transition to a low carbon society.


  • PhD positions
  • Agriculture; Natural Sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University Graduate
  • 438


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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