The impact of both environmental and socio-economic factors on the dynamics of prehistoric upland settlement in Britain and Ireland has been at the centre of a long-running debate. Most of that debate, however, has been centred around data from southern Britain, whose representativeness and applicability to other regions remains under-explored.
This PhD project seeks to address this issue, by surveying and systematizing available information on the dynamics of upland settlement in marginal landscapes of northern Britain and Ireland for the second and early first millennium BC, and place this into context with the wider archaeological and palaeoenvironmental record.
Focusing on six to eight case-study sites from across the study area, the PhD student will compile a database of relevant legacy data from both published and grey literature, and will undertake remodelling of the available scientific dating evidence, including the acquisition of new scientific dating evidence from excavation archives. The results will be placed into a spatio-temporal context through the use of a geographical information system. This will also facilitate a means to relate the unfolding settlement dynamics to palaeoenvironmental background data at a regional scale, thus assessing the vulnerability and resilience of upland settlements.
The student will join a dynamic and interdisciplinary academic community with strong expertise in landscape research and digital humanities. The student will receive training in advanced statistical modelling techniques, remote sensing, and radiocarbon sample preparation, and will also have the opportunity to participate in relevant active fieldwork projects in Ireland and northern Britain.
The supervisory team for this PhD is led by Dr Dirk Brandherm (Queen’s University Belfast), providing broad expertise in the Bronze and Iron Age archaeology of Western Europe. Additional supervisory support comes from Dr James O’Driscoll (University of Aberdeen), who has extensive experience in the study of prehistoric upland enclosures and hillforts and a particular interest in the application of remote sensing and GIS-based techniques in archaeology, Dr Gill Plunkett (Queen’s University Belfast), who specializes in the analysis of past land use and human-environment dynamics, and Dr Maarten Blaauw (Queen’s University Belfast), who provides specialist expertise in chronological modelling and other numerical approaches.
More project details are available here:
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