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:
- Pınarbaşı-a seasonally occupied rockshelter (c8600-8100BC & 6500-6000BC) representing microfaunal assemblages from a mobile hunter-gatherer community
- Boncuklu- an early village settlement (c8500-7500BC)
- Çatalhöyük-a UNESCO World Heritage site and a large urban settlement (c7100-5700BC)
- 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
- Determine if human commensals can be found at Boncuklu and used as a proxy for identifying sedentism
- Identify human ritual behaviour (previous studies of microvertebrates from Çatalhöyük demonstrated that small mammals were part of ritual human burial practices)
- 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
The closing date for applications is 1 May 2017.
I am an Environmental Archaeologist whose research interests are focused on the Neolithic of southwest Asia. I am particularly interested in why and how people made the switch from being mobile hunter-gatherers to settled farmers. I have two archaeological specialisms which I use to address these questions phytolith and microfaunal analysis.
I have an undergraduate degree in Archaeology from the University of Bristol and an M. Phil and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. I am a committee member for the Association for Environmental Archaeology and in my spare time I enjoy cycling, walking and reading.
I have a background in prehistoric and Roman archaeology and have carried out extensive research in the field of zooarchaeology. Recent and current projects include: butchery practices in Iron Age and Roman Britain; animal exploitation in Novgorod and other medieval sites in NW Russia; the food supply in Roman towns; the deposition of animal skeletons on Iron Age and Romano-British sites; the identification of worked animal bones found in early Bronze Age burial contexts; the use of salt in prehistoric and historic societies. I have also carried out consultancy projects for English Heritage, The National Museum of Wales; CADW, and for a wide range of archaeological excavation units.
A fully-funded Studentship includes a maintenance grant of £14,000 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months.
Associated costs, such as for fieldwork and conference attendance, will also be met under the Studentship.
When undertaking a research degree at BU, you will develop research skills in your specific project area and discipline, and you will also have an opportunity to develop wider, transferable skills which will assist in your future employment, whether within or outside academia.
The Researcher Development Framework, developed by the Graduate School in line with the Research Councils UK (RCUK), will enable you to enhance your abilities in areas which are not necessarily discipline-specific.
An added benefit is the opportunity to meet researchers from other academic schools at BU through the activities of our Graduate School and benefit from their experiences, skills, and perspectives.
Full entry requirements
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.
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.
Additional eligibility criteria
Applicants must be willing to travel to Turkey (security permitting) to analyse the assemblage from Çatalhöyük and assist with sample processing and sorting at Boncuklu.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
- IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.
How to apply
Click the green ‘Apply now’ button at the top of the page and complete the online application form. You can find further guidance about applying for a postgraduate research degree in our Postgraduate Research section.
The closing date for applications is 1 May 2017.
A research degree can open new career opportunities in commercial research and development, consultancy, or could lead you to starting your own business. You may alternatively consider a career in academia. You may wish to undertake research to contribute to your knowledge of a specialist subject, or develop your employability by enhancing your skills in project management and analysis.