Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geochronology

This job offer has expired

    Université de Bordeaux / University of Bordeaux
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    30/01/2022 01:00 - Europe/London
    France › Talence


The GPR ‘Human Past’: our group and our research / Le GPR “Human Past”: notre groupe et notre recherche

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 / Description du projet

Obtaining accurate and precise chronological data is not only key for tracing the emergence and diffusion of cultural innovations, but also for assessing the possible contemporaneity of human populations. This project aims to obtain such chronological milestones by implementing the Uranium/Thorium dating method, through the use of an innovative sampling approach based on a femto-second laser ablation system and analysis of resulting nano-particles on-line with a high resolution ICPMS.

This approach is interesting for two main reasons. It allows: (1) a direct analysis of the samples, avoiding the often long and potentially contaminating preparation phases in the laboratory; (2) the production of a 2D image for each radioisotope (U238, U235, U234, Th232 and Th230) and the post-measurement selection of areas of the image that are conducive to obtaining a reliable age. Moreover, it is applicable to all materials and bio-materials carbonated or partially carbonated (speleothems, shells, teeth, bones), often abundant in prehistoric deposits.

In this 2-year project, the post-doctoral fellow will adapt and apply this approach to a set of biomaterials with a strong anthropic imprint, coming from archaeological deposits in the Near East and on the African continent.

Adequacy of the postdoctoral project with the objectives of the GRP / Adéquation du projet post-doctoral avec les objectifs du GPR

Determining how and why novel cultural traits emerge, propagate and disappear constitutes one of the objectives of the GPR “Human Past”, but this requires a precise and reliable chronological framework in which each element, whatever its nature, can be placed unambiguously and compared with others. Such a framework does not exist in some regions and if it does, the usual low precision associated with the available chronological data is an obvious limitation for interpreting the archaeological and paleoanthropological evidence

The new perspectives opened by recent methodological and technological advances in dating techniques have a significant potential to clarify the chronology of cultural and biological tipping points and explore their succession.

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 January 30, 2022.

Additional comments

Specific constraints and risks :

- Class 1 laser.

- Use of acids (e.g., HNO3).

- Cutting saw.

- The conventional safety protocols will be applied in agreement with the local safety engineers.

Offer Requirements


The candidate must hold a PhD in Archeological Sciences or Archaeometry, and be experienced in laser ablation coupled to high resolution-ICPMS (ideally experienced in high repetition rate femtosecond lasers).

Skills in image processing will be appreciated, as well as knowledge concerning the geochemistry of uranium in soils and carbonated materials.

The candidate should also have demonstrated experience in the preparation and submission of articles in English.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université de Bordeaux / University of Bordeaux
351 cours de la Libération

EURAXESS offer ID: 727890


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