Postdoctoral Fellowship in Network Analysis Applied to the Spread of Innovations during the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition

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    Université de Bordeaux / University of Bordeaux
    AnthropologyPhysical anthropology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    21/03/2022 23:00 - Europe/London
    France › Talence


The GPR ‘Human Past’: our group and our research

The GPR (Grand Programme de Recherche) ‘Human Past’ is an interdisciplinary research project supported by the University of Bordeaux's Initiative d’Excellence. ‘Human Past’ gathers ~110 researchers from 3 laboratories (PACEA, AUSONIUS, and Archéosciences Bordeaux) affiliated with the University of Bordeaux (UB) and the University of Bordeaux Montaigne (UBM). Our expertise combines Biological Anthropology, Classical and Medieval Archaeology, Prehistory, Protohistory, History, Epigraphy, Archaeometry, Geochronology and Computer Science Applications to Cultural Heritage.

’Human Past’ aims to document, characterize and understand the tipping points that have induced major biological and cultural changes within past human populations. Spanning a large chronological period (from Prehistory to historical times), our research aims to identify the steps that enabled a primate originally adapted to African ecosystems to evolve into a species that occupies and impacts every ecosystem on the planet. Biological and social systems will be scrutinized at different scales from a multitude of perspectives with particular attention paid to phenotypic and genetic variability, cognition, technology, social organization, belief systems, and genetic and cultural adaptive strategies that drive human societies.

This position advertisement belongs to the first part of the funding scheme, planned for 4 years.


Project description

The degree of interconnectedness of past human populations may have influenced the development, spread and persistence of novel behaviours. Human mobility and long distances cultural interactions are key factors for the spread of cultures. While genes spread exclusively by movements of people, cultural traits can spread independently by indirect transfers. The goal of this postdoctoral project is to explore gene-culture co-evolution in Europe during the transition to farming by using a novel approach that will jointly estimate human mobility and material culture diffusion from both a genetic and archaeological perspective.

The informative potential of combining biological and cultural data within the same model has already been confirmed by various studies. By jointly applying cultural and biological evolutionary methods to the study of the past European population and material culture diversity 8 ky ago, the post-doc fellow, will statistically characterise and quantify the similarities and differences between cultural and population dynamics in Europe during the Neolithic transition. We will test the hypothesis that patterns of continuity/discontinuity in one specific material production mirror population diversity and movements that contribute to the spread of innovations.


Adequacy of the postdoctoral project with the objectives of the GRP

This postdoctoral project fits within the objectives of Action 5 (“Network analysis applied to the spread of innovations”) of WP3 (“How and why do novel cultural traits emerge, propagate and disappear?”) of the GPR “Human Past”. Indeed, the focus on past communities in a networks perspective has been proven useful for approaching a wide range of research questions including the diffusion and adaptation of innovations, belief systems, exchange, and mobility. Documenting those processes is critical for the understanding of farming technology diffusion 8 ky ago. Equally as important in the diffusion of innovations are the demographic composition of the population and the distribution of individuals throughout social networks. We wish to analyze genetic and archaeological data jointly and with comparable methodologies. We will focus on Europe at the dawn of agriculture, circa 7500 years ago, a time period and region for which foragers and farmers genetic data, and data on their material culture, are available.

More Information

Selection process

The candidate will submit their application, consisting of a letter of motivation (2 pages max.) and a CV (including list of publications, if applicable), to the supervisors mentioned in the job description, and to Adrien Pourtier (adrien.pourtier@u-bordeaux.fr), Francesco D'Errico (francesco.derrico@u-bordeaux.fr) and Adeline Le Cabec (adeline.le-cabec@u-bordeaux.fr), before March 21, 2022.

Additional comments

The successful candidate will receive financial support for attending international meetings and preparing publications

The Post-Doctoral researcher will be willing to travel within and outside Europe/

Offer Requirements


The candidate must:

- hold a PhD in archaeology or anthropology, or population genetics.

- have a strong population genetics background (with a particular focus on demographic modelling), and a deep interest in cultural evolution and archaeology.

- be experienced in quantitative approaches applied to the archeological record.

- have a substantial background in computational methods (knowledge of R and Python/Perl programming languages), strong skills in bioinformatics and biostatistics, network modeling, to handle and analyze genomic and cultural data.

- demonstrate they are an active international researcher, fit for large-scale comparisons.

- be fluent in English (spoken, read, written).

- have a demonstrated experience in the preparation and submission of articles in English.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université de Bordeaux

EURAXESS offer ID: 726426


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