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Childhood in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia

   Archaeology and Ancient History

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  Dr Marianne Eriksen, Dr Ben Raffield  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The ERC funded project ‘Body-Politics: Personhood, Sexuality and Death in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia’, based at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, explores the politics of late prehistoric Scandinavia through the battleground of the body, combining archaeological evidence, bioarchaeological methods, material culture and textual analyses to answer fundamental questions about the nature of bodies and beings in the past. You can find more about the project at https://body-politics.com/

The PhD Researcher will develop and conduct a programme of research on the diversity of childhood experience and roles in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia. You will design this research agenda in collaboration with the project PI (Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen, who will be your primary supervisor). There is scope for the research to be tailored to the applicant’s interests, which may include for example:

  • Archaeological investigation of personhood and the life course
  • Material culture of child-rearing and children
  • Philological, iconographic and textual evidence for concepts surrounding childhood
  • The osteoarchaeology of childhood and children's remains
  • Other robust archaeological and/or interdisciplinary approaches to the subject matter

Note that the BODY-POLITICS project is investigating human remains treated atypically, including children's remains deposited in wetlands and settlements (read more here)

You will take a lead in shaping your research agenda, deliverable within the time constraints of PhD studies, that will complement other team members’ activities in the project. This will include the generation of primary data, analysis of that data, and the writing of a PhD dissertation. 

You will be encouraged and supported to present your work at academic conferences; to be involved in collaborative authorship of project publications with other PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and the PI; and ultimately to publish your work as lead author. As part of your PhD studies you will have opportunities to seek experience, e.g. potentially in public dissemination of research, organisation of academic conferences and meetings, teaching in higher education, and similar, in alignment with your own aspirations and possibilities open in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

The PhD studentship may include some travel.

We endeavour to be inclusive and flexible regarding applicants with caring obligations, disabilities and other considerations.

Academic entry requirements

·      UK bachelor's degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject or international equivalent

·      Strong master's degree in archaeology or a closely related discipline

·      Previous study of either late prehistoric / early medieval northern Europe, OR archaeological approaches to childhood

Evidence of English language may be required

How to apply

To apply, please refer to the guidance at: https://le.ac.uk/study/research-degrees/funded-opportunities/archaeology-hem-eriksen-project-2

Include with your application:-

·      CV

·      Degree Certificates and Transcripts

·      Details of any study currently being undertaken

·      Covering letter including a brief personal statement outlining your background and motivation (2 page max)

·      Research proposal including preliminary research objectives and questions, proposed primary material, and training goals (i.e. skills you would like to develop). You may include references to the literature; please reference fully in any common standard format. Please review the specification of the role within the Body-Politics project (above) and consider how your proposed research fits within the objectives outlined there . This proposal is to help define your interests and approach to the role; there will be opportunities for the successful candidate to refine their research plans in the early months of their PhD work, with the help of senior project members. (3 pages max, excluding bibliography)

·      Enter contact details of two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload reference letters if already obtained.

·      Evidence of English language if applicable.


UK or international applicants who meets the academic entry requirements.

Desirable (non-essential) skills include:

·      Previous research experience with the periods, regions, and/or themes of the Body-Politics project*

·      Experience working with primary archaeological sources of evidence, e.g. skeletal remains, objects and/or excavation data.*

·      Ability to read a Scandinavian language, or aptitude to learn.*

Funding Notes

This 3-year ERC Studentship provides:
• UK/International tuition fee waiver
• A stipend of £16,500 per annum for three years.
• Research allowance (for books, conferences, etc.) to be used in discussion with PI
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