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Understanding early Neolithic communities in Anatolia: using small vertebrates to inform on the palaeoenvironmental and social conditions during the transition from mobile hunter-gatherers to settled farmers

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  • Full or part time
    Dr E Jenkins
    Mr M Maltby
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description


The Neolithic in the Near East is a critical period in human history; it was during this time that people made the transition from living in small hunter-gatherer groups, occupying temporary camps, to fully fledged agriculturalists living in large sedentary communities.

The reason why people made this transition is one of the great unanswered questions of our time. What is apparent however is that this development not only altered the way people interacted with their environment, but also the social structure within communities, ultimately leading to the development of complex societies and urbanisation.

This project will use microfauna from three archaeological sites to increase our understanding of the environmental and social conditions that prevailed during this transition in Anatolia. The three sites are:
1.Pınarbaşı-a seasonally occupied rockshelter (c8600-8100BC & 6500-6000BC) representing microfaunal assemblages from a mobile hunter-gatherer community
2.Boncuklu- an early village settlement (c8500-7500BC)
3.Çatalhöyük-a UNESCO World Heritage site and a large urban settlement (c7100-5700BC)

1.Reconstruct the palaeoenvironment in order to determine if environmental change was a causal factor for the transition from mobile hunter-gatherers to sedentary farmers in Anatolia
2.Determine if human commensals can be found at Boncuklu and used as a proxy for identifying sedentism
3.Identify human ritual behaviour (previous studies of microvertebrates from Çatalhöyük demonstrated that small mammals were part of ritual human burial practices)
4.Establish if microfauna were part of a broad spectrum subsistence economy at any of the sites (pilot studies suggest that frog may have been consumed at Boncuklu)

•Sort existing samples from Pınarbaşı/Boncuklu
•Sort and identify samples from Çatalhöyük
•Undertake a taxonomic and taphonomic analysis of the assemblages using assemblages from the Harrison Institute, Kent and the Natural History Museum, London
•Undertake a geometric morphometric (GMM) analysis of small mammal dentition to identify house mice
•Identify differences in species composition in different periods that could be attributable to environmental change
•Identify if there is an increase in commensal species with increased urbanisation by comparing the assemblages from the three sites:1) a seasonally occupied camp-Pınarbaşı, 2) a small village-Boncuklu and 3) a large town-Çatalhöyük
•Interpret data and draw conclusions about past environments, urbanisation and cultural and ritual practices at the sites

Applications are made via out website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years.

Fully-funded studentship candidates must demonstrate outstanding academic potential with preferably a 1st class honours degree and/or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent Grade Point Average. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 5.5 in each component) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful completion.

Funding Notes

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £14,000 (unless otherwise specified) per annum, to cover their living expenses and have their fees waved for 36 months. In addition, research costs, including field work and conference attendance, will be met.

Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and international students unless otherwise specified.

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