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Call for PhD proposals

The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) offers three fully financed PhD scholarships from 1 September 2015 focused on the archaeology, archaeoscience, geoscience and history of urban societies in the past. Deadline July 1 2015.

PhD-scholarships for research on the urban past


The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence Centre for Urban Network
Evolutions (UrbNet) offers three fully financed PhD scholarships from 1 September 2015
focused on the archaeology, archaeoscience, geoscience and history of urban societies in the

The scholarships are an opportunity for eminent young researchers to set the agenda for research
into the evolution of urban societies and networks from the Hellenistic Period to the Middle Ages,
and to participate in one of Europe’s most groundbreaking archaeological research initiatives of this

The centre aims to develop research that will offer comparison of the archaeology of urbanism from
Medieval Northern Europe to the Ancient Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean World and
determine how, and to what extent, past urban networks catalyzed societal and environmental
expansions and crises in the past. The newly-opened centre strives to embrace and connect the
archaeological research clusters at Aarhus University with new and advanced analytical techniques
in Geoscience and Physics for dating and characterizing archaeological sites, and creates a researchenvironment
for cross-fertilizing approaches from the humanities and sciences.

We are looking to integrate projects into the centre’s work, which intersect questions and problems
concerning urban development and networks. Projects should align with one or more of the core
agendas of the centre:

  • How does the combination of multiple methods and approaches contribute to characterize the material and/or social biographies of urban sites in the past? 
  • How does contextual study of archaeological data, including scientific and historical analysis, clarify the structure, dynamics and agency of urban networks in different periods and regions?
  • How do high-definition chronologies, site biographies and recorded history integrate as synthetic accounts of urban societies?

Proposals for PhD-projects may relate to existing projects within the centre, which focus on regions

from Northern Europe over the Levant to the East Coast of Africa (please see urbnet.au.dk

for more information). They involve empirical material from a number of existing excavation
projects as well as working on material already excavated and on theoretical and methodological
issues. However, individual projects may also issue from other bodies of data.

Prospective PhD candidates should contact a member of the Centre Core Group as a potential
supervisor. The Core Group consists of the following researchers:

  • Rubina Raja (Professor, centre director, Classical and Near Eastern archaeology)
  • Søren Sindbæk (Professor MSO, vice-director, Medieval archaeology)
  • Gry Barfod (Assistant professor, isotope geochemistry, co-supervisor)
  • Søren Munch Kristiansen (Associate Professor, soil chemistry and geomorphology)
  • Charles Lesher (Niels Bohr Professor, earth materials and geochemistry)
  • Peter Hambro Mikkelsen (director of the department for conservation and natural science, Moesgaard Museum)
  • Jesper Olsen (Associate Professor, 14C AMS Dating Centre)
  • Bjørn Poulsen (Professor, Medieval history)
  • Stephanie Wynne-Jones (Associate Professor, African archaeology, co-supervisor)

We seek highly motivated persons with the following qualifications

Essential criteria:

  • A master’s degree, typically in the field of Classical, Prehistoric, Near Eastern or Medieval archaeology, archaeoscience, history, geoscience, or other relevant education.
  • A strong interest in the urban archaeology and the past development of urban societies and networks, and empirical research.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills (in English).
  • Experience of conducting empirical research.
  • Confidence in dealing with participants and the wider research team.
  • Strong collaborative skills as the successful candidates will join a large multidisciplinary research group.
  • Excellent oral communication skills.


  • Strong publication profile.
  • Experience with and or interest in cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  • Fluency also in other languages than Scandinavian and English.
  • Experience with editorial assignments.


The application must consist of a statement of interest, highlighting your motivations for applying
for the position (max 1 page), full CV, including proof of MA/MSc degree and grades. Furthermore
a short proposal for a study within the research area of Centre for Urban Network Evolutions
(maximum 2-3 pages) should also be included.

The application should be sent to Rubina Raja and Søren Sindbæk (rubina.raja@cas.au.dk and
farksms@cas.au.dk) by 1 July 2015. 

Additional information regarding these positions can be obtained by contacting: Rubina Raja
(Professor, centre director, Classical and Near Eastern archaeology rubina.raja@cas.au.dk) or Søren

Sindbæk (Professor MSO, vice-director, Medieval archaeology farksms@cas.au.dk) 


The PhD student must complete the studies in accordance with the current regulations for the PhD

degree programme, currently the Ministerial Order of 27 August 2013 on the PhD degree

programme at the Universities: talent.au.dk/phd/arts/rulesandforms/thephddegreeprogramme/ 

Description of the Graduate School’s PhD degree programme (5+3): 


Rules and regulations for the PhD degree programme at the Graduate School at Arts:


As a PhD student at UrbNet, you are affiliated with the research programmes: Materials, Culture

and Heritage as well as The Ancient World at the Department of Culture and Society:


Candidates who are awarded a PhD scholarship/fellowship will be assigned a place of work in

connection with Centre for Urban Network Evolutions at Aarhus University, Campus Moesgaard.
The PhD student is expected to be present at the department on an everyday basis.

PhD students receive a regular salary. The terms of employment are in accordance with the
agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional
Associations (see section 6.1.4), as well as with the protocol to the agreement covering staff with
university degrees in the state sector (see enclosure 5). The agreement and the protocol including
amendments are available online:



Application deadline: 1 July 2015. 

The outcome of the application round will be announced by 1 August 2015. Candidates who are
awarded the scholarship/fellowships are expected to commence their PhD degree programme 1
September 2015.