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  A (Pre)History of Westray and Papa Westray: from the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition to Norse annexation

   Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre

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  Dr D Hamilton  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Fully funded PhD studentship – Historic Environment Scotland

This PhD student project proposal aims to use the excavations at the Links of Noltland as the hub for developing a deep-time perspective of human settlement on Westray and Papa Westray from the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition to the Norse annexation of Orkney. There are over 400 archaeological sites (approximately 40 settlements) from Westray and Papa Westray, which serves to illustrate the potential, untapped wealth in this small area (approx. 22 sq. miles) removed from the Orkney Mainland.

The project will focus of evaluating all the existing radiocarbon dates from Westray and Papa Westray, along with available dates from surrounding islands, and gleaning new information by adding new results to the dataset from samples chosen within a Bayesian framework, using modern sampling criteria. During this 3-year studentship, the student will learn about radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling through a combination of lectures and experiential practice. Under close supervision from their supervisors and staff in the Radiocarbon Laboratory, they will identify the contexts suitable for dating, select the samples within a Bayesian framework, pretreat and graphitise the samples in preparation for measurement by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), and build their regional chronologies.

The ideal applicant will have an excellent first degree (1st or 2:1) in Archaeology, Anthropology, or Archaeological Sciences. and possibly a Master’s degree in a related field. However, applicants from all academic backgrounds will be considered.

The PhD is based within the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), a world-class research facility that is part of the University of Glasgow. Please note, that SUERC is located in East Kilbride. The SUERC Supervisors are Dr. Derek Hamilton and Prof. Gordon Cook. Historic Environment Scotland will provide a third supervisor.

The Studentship award is for eligible UK residents and covers Home fees plus a stipend of £14,453 per year, as well as a budget for research, travel, and cohort activities.

Contact Dr. Derek Hamilton ([Email Address Removed]) if you would like to discuss your eligibility, background or qualifications prior to applying.

Application should be made directly through the University of Glasgow, College of Science & Engineering, naming SUERC as the Department. The application procedure can be accessed here: (

CLOSING DATE: 23 June 2017

 About the Project