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Carved Stones in Context: Landscape and GIS approaches to First Millennium AD Monuments in Scotland and Ireland

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G Noble
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The emergence of carved stones is a recognised phenomenon across northern Europe in the 5th to 9th centuries AD. In particular, the 5th and 6th centuries is characterised by the widespread application of ogham and Latin script to stones in Ireland and Western Britain; the spread of Class I symbol stones in Pictish regions of northern Britain, and the proliferation of picture and rune stones in Scandinavia.
While there are important differences in the milieu and political context between these regions, there are important similarities too: these monuments often represent the earliest forms of literacy in their respective regions, and are some of the most obvious monumental expressions of commemorative strategies and elite identities for the period. Ogham stones, for instance, are known to have marked territories and commemorated individuals as members of certain lineages or collective groups, while Pictish symbols have been understood as expressing group affiliation and individual identities. While there have been focused studies of these stone monuments in each region, there have been fewer studies to date that compare these monumental and commemorative strategies across regions or to explore the elite milieu within which they belong. The contemporary socio-political role of these stones is something of an enigma, partly because the context of few have been investigated, even fewer studied from a comparative landscape context, and they are rarely situated within their contemporary land-holding and socio-political structures. To this end this project will examine Pictish Class I symbol stones and Ogham stones in Ireland and Scotland in order to further illuminate the context of stone carving in early medieval Northwest Europe. The candidate will use a variety of interdisciplinary research methods to examine the monumentality and landscape context of stones in Ireland and Scotland. In particular, they will use GIS, remote sensing, photogrammetry, and novel methods of territorial reconstruction to examine the socio-political, religious and monumental role of these stones within their contemporary context.

The successful student will spend years 1 and 3 of their studies at the University of Aberdeen in the School of Geosciences and year 2 at Queen’s University Belfast in the School of Natural and Built Environment.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a related discipline and preferably a Master’s in Archaeology too. Skills in field survey, geophysics and digital recording would be beneficial, but not a requirement.

The other supervisor on this project is: Patrick Gleeson, Queen’s University, Belfast.

The start date of the project is 1 November 2018.

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR and EXACT PROJECT TITLE ON THE APPLICATION FORM.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr G Noble ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Tuition fees will be paid at UK/EU rate only along with a maintenance stipend of £14,777 for 2018/2019 (paid monthly in arrears).

Applications can be accepted from International applicants providing they can meet the diff in fees from their own resources, for 2018/2019 this will be £14,140.

Check eligibility status at

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