Postdoctoral Fellowship in Prehistoric Ichnology and Understanding of the Underground Space

This job offer has expired

    Université de Bordeaux / University of Bordeaux
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Established Researcher (R3)
    09/05/2022 01:00 - 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

There is a growing interest in the way space was used and perceived in Palaeolithic decorated caves and the way in which Palaeolithic people moved within the caves during their incursions. This field of study requires an interdisciplinary approach that needs to be adapted to the different function, or functions, underground spaces were used for: funerary place (e.g.Cussac), decorated space (e.g. Chauvet, Cussac, Rouffignac, Volp), monumental space (e.g. Bruniquel, Chauvet). Research in this domain must take into account, among others, lighting, acoustics, access to symbolic and decorated areas. The sites mentioned above are currently under study by our team and a large dataset, particularly on Bruniquel and Cussac caves, is available.

The post-doctoral fellow will contribute to:

1) completing the inventory and interpretation of traces left by humans and other species (TrAcs database) with a special focus on selected modification types (e.g. ichnology, breakage and displacement of speleothems, access to specific areas of the site, archaeological visibility of artworks and constructions)

2) complementing with their scientific or analytical expertise that of the existing team

3) exploring the pertinence of additional analytical methods

4) organizing symposium sessions, participating in research or synthesis publications (as 1st author or coauthor depending on involvement). As the project progresses, additional activities or research at other sites may be implemented.


Adequacy of the postdoctoral project with the objectives of the GRP

In the framework of Action 3 of WP4 of the GPR ‘Human Past’, the post-doctoral fellow and team members J. Jaubert, C. Ferrier, N. Fourment, S. Verheyden, V. Feruglio, and S. Konik will build upon both existing and new data to draw an overarching history of the relationship between Palaeolithic/Mesolithic communities and visited caves. The identification of substantial changes in the studied caves’ use and function will represent a key endeavour of this extended team. The results of this research will be published in international peer-reviewed journals, involve as much as possible a media exposure, and contribute to making the team attached to the Bordeaux campus, a pole of excellence in the study of the Palaeolithic underground world.

More Information

Selection process

The candidate will submit their application, consisting of a letter of motivation (2 pages

max., specifically focusing on defending the profile required for this position) and a CV

(including list of publications, if applicable), to the supervisors mentioned in the job description,

and to Romane Gracia (romane.gracia@u-bordeaux.fr>), Francesco d'Errico

(francesco.derrico@u-bordeaux.fr) and Adeline Le Cabec (adeline.le-cabec@u-bordeaux.fr),

before May 9, 2022.

Additional comments

Participation in annual fieldworks in the caves of Bruniquel and Cussac, and possibly Rouffignac or other sites

Offer Requirements


The candidate must:

- Hold a PhD degree in Prehistory, archaeosciences, biogeosciences or equivalent.

- Be familiar with the underground environment and experienced in speleology.

- Have a good knowledge of the geomorphology of the underground environment and its

past frequentation ('paleospeleology' sensu Rouzaud 1978), an ability to identify and

interpret traces left by animals and humans (ichnology), a knowledge of their

taphonomy. These skills must be demonstrated by field experience and publications on

the subject.

- Have a knowledge in GIS, 3D tools, photogrammetry, hand laser scanning, point-cloud

processing, generating and analysing DEMs.

- Have confirmed field experience in the analysis of painted caves, as well as in

photography and macro-photography in the underground environment.

- Have a good knowledge of dedicated software such as QGIS, ArcGIS, CloudCompare,

3DReshaper, Agisoft Photoscan.

- Be able to integrate an already established team of researchers.

- Master oral and written scientific English. Some knowledge of French is welcome but

not mandatory.

- An expertise in one of the following topics is welcome but not mandatory: prehistoric

visits of the underground space; traces or red or black pigment marks; animal and

human ichnology; breakage and displacement of speleothems.

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

EURAXESS offer ID: 754507


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