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ONE Planet DTP - Palaeoenvironmental investigation into the origin of the domesticated landscapes of southwestern Amazonia (Ref: OP202026)

  • Full or part time
    Dr B Whitney
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Contrary to popular conceptions, the Amazon was not a pristine landscape prior to European arrival, but contained large human populations that created complex landscape management systems for the production of food and industrial crops. A proposed hotspot for the domestication of crops, including sweet potato and manioc, Southwestern Amazonia, features the Llanos de Moxos sub-basin, is a vast seasonally-inundated floodplain characterized by forest-savannah mosaic. The Llanos de Moxos is covered in Pre-European earthworks associated with past landscape management, including raised field complexes, forest islands, fish weirs, earth mounds and canals and causeways. Although these archaeological features are well-mapped, numerous questions remain over their origin and use, and the extent to which the ecology and biogeography of the savanna-forest mosaic has been manipulated by past land use. In this project, you will reconstruct the origin, use and impact of these domesticated landscapes using palaeoenvironmental techniques. In conjunction with archaeological and archaeobotanical colleagues at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, you will be supported in the development of a research strategy to address the overall project aims, whilst focusing on your choice of proxies, including pollen, charcoal, phytoliths, geochemistry, so that you can apply your own subject expertise to the project. Financial support will allow you to conduct field sampling, and you will also have access to several existing and dated sediment cores to commence the project. You will be supported to participate in overseas fieldwork, attend international conferences, advance your training in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction techniques, and disseminate research through peer-reviewed publication in international journals.

Prerequisites:
You will be trained in the required aspects of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, but experience with skills specific to reconstructing environmental change, such as pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analysis, would be beneficial.
For more information, please contact Dr Bronwen Whitney ().

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. OP.....) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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