Ubbo Emmius PhD scholarship in ecological archaeology

University of Groningen - Groningen Institute of Archaeology

This scholarship is open only to applicants without a Dutch nationality
and is funded by the University of Groningen. The 4-years stipend will
be about € 1,390 monthly.


Available from September 1^st 2006.




Excavations at Swifterbant in the 1960’s and 1970 have yielded a large
corpus of information on the occupation of a micro region during the
Mesolithic and Neolithic demonstrating the early transition to farming
in the northern part of the Netherlands. In 2004 the Groningen Institute
of Archaeology of the University of Groningen continued the excavations
in order to answer a number of important research questions left
unsolved. The proposed Ph.D. research contributes to our knowledge on
landscape development, local raw material sources and transport routes
on the basis of palynological research.

/Research topics/

The research focuses on three interrelated research topics to be
analysed in sequence. These topics are:

   1. To gain more insight in the taphonomy of the levee sites on the
      basis of palynological analysis in comparison with other
      ecological sources (diatoms, plant macro remains). The diatom
      analysis makes clear that the clay derives from sources in the
      coastal area, while the Swifterbant area itself was a fresh water
      tidal environment. In the interpretation of the macro remains, it
      is as yet unclear to what extent local and extra-local sources of
      plant material are responsible for the composition of the assemblage;
   2. To develop a series of palaeogeographical maps for the Swifterbant
      area on the basis of old and new palynological data and the
      incorporation of other sources of ecological information from
      animal remains (including shells) and plant remains (including
      diatoms, seeds/fruits and wood). The palynological analysis is
      based on two existing diagrams from the Swifterbant area and two
      diagrams from some 10 km distance. New data may be collected at
      parcel H46, a peat section near one of the river dune sites and in
      the excavation trenches. The last type of samples is to be used to
      gain more insight in local vegetation during occupation. The maps
      should envisage the natural environment during the Mesolithic and
      Neolithic leading to more insight in the origin of raw material
      (local exploitation versus import). The inclusion of wood/charcoal
      analysis in the research depends on the time involved and the
      experience of the candidate;
   3. To contribute to the discussion on the temporal relation between
      graves and settlements. A characteristic of the burials from the
      Swifterbant culture is that they are exclusively found on
      settlement sites. As a result of ^14 C dating problems (reservoir
      effect), it is unclear whether this means that burials took place
      during the period of occupation or whether the spatial correlation
      simply results from the fact that settlement sites are much easier
      to detect. The analysis of a series of ^14 C dates on soil
      directly below the burials might indicate what the temporal
      relation between burials and settlement is.


Casparie, W.A., B. Mook‑Kamps, R.M. Palfenier‑Vegter, P.C. Struijk & W.
van Zeist, 1977. The Palaeobotany of Swifterbant. A preliminary report
(Swifterbant Contribution 7), /Helinium/ 17, 28‑55.

Raemaekers, D.C.M., 1999: /The Articulation of a ‘New Neolithic’. The
meaning of the Swifterbant Culture for the process of Neolithisation in
the western part of the North European Plain/, Proefschrift Universiteit
Leiden/ /(Archaeological Series Leiden University 3).

Van Zeist, W. & R.M. Palfenier‑Vegter, 1981. Seeds and fruits from the
Swifterbant S3 site. Final reports on Swifterbant IV, /Palaeohistoria/
23, 105-168.

*More information*

More information on the GIA and its research are to be found at

Informal enquiries should be made to the project supervisors:

    * Dr. R.T.J. Cappers (archaeobotany): +31 50 363 6741;
      [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
    * Prof.dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers (archaeology): +31 50 363 6723;
      [log in to unmask]

The closing date for applications is March 31^th 2005.

Letters of application should be sent to D.C.M. Raemaekers, University
of Groningen, Groningen Institute of Archaeology, Poststraat 6, 9712 ER
Groningen, the Netherlands.

Letters should include a short /curriculum vitae/.