The ERC-funded FINDER project (“Fossil fingerprinting and identification of new Denisovan remains in Pleistocene Asia”) is offering one 3-year funded PhD position in Archaeological Science. The candidate will work on the identification of faunal assemblages and the discovery of new human fossils from East Asia, particularly China and adjacent regions, through the use of biomolecular methodologies, such as collagen mass fingerprinting (or ZooMS) and ancient DNA analyses of bones. She/he should have a background in prehistoric archaeology/archaeological science/zooarchaeology/(bio)chemistry, and a strong interest in the field of human evolution.
FINDER is a multidisciplinary research project funded by the European Research Council (2017-2022) focusing on the discovery and analyses of new human fossils from Pleistocene Asia through the application of collagen peptide mass fingerprinting, also known as ZooMS, and other scientific methods (ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating, stable isotopes) on small and otherwise undiagnostic bone fragments. We are looking for remains of Neanderthals, Denisovans or modern humans from the period between 100,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Thousands of bones are excavated at an average prehistoric site; of these, only the ones with anatomical characteristics are studied and may be taxonomically classified. The vast majority of bones, however, are small and lacking diagnostic features. These unidentified assemblages are very likely to contain human bones that are too fragmentary to be attributed securely to humans. The use of ZooMS allows us to examine these bones. For more information about the project see www.finderc.org.
The successful student will work under the supervision of the project’s Principal Investigator Dr Katerina Douka ([email protected]). She/he will be expected to spend a considerable amount of time sampling bones from several archaeological sites in East and Southeast Asia and processing them in their country of origin/storage. The spectrometric analyses will be performed at the Max Planck facilities in Jena.
Applicants will be expected to demonstrate significant experience and competence in working alongside interdisciplinary teams. They will be expected to disseminate the results of their study at international conferences across the world and publish them in peer-reviewed journals and books/chapters.
The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in the sciences and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.
We will accept applications from interested candidates until November 2, 2018,or until the position is filled.
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