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  Scottish upland expansion in the Bronze Age: new insights from robust chronological modeling

   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 aims to use the Lairg Project archive and evidence from other Bronze Age sites in northern Scotland to explore questions relating to upland expansion in the 2nd millennium cal BC. While expansion into the uplands is widely accepted, the timing and tempo of human movement into these marginal environments is still very poorly understood. This has been largely due to the lack of precise radiocarbon chronologies for the period.

The project will be focused on re-evaluating the archive of the original Lairg Project, gleaning new information, and synthesising it into a wider context. As a well-excavated Bronze Age upland landscape with a large number of ‘legacy’ dates, Lairg is ideally suited to this research focus. Furthermore, its physical location makes it well positioned for comparisons with interpretations developed from coastal sites in the Northern and Western Isles (e.g. Tofts Ness, Links of Noltland and Cladh Hallan) as well as lowland evidence from areas such as Aberdeenshire and Perthshire (e.g. Deers Den/Kintore, Sands of Forvie, Balnabroich).

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