Dear Colleagues

Please find below the details for a NERC PhD  studentship: Reconstructing prehistoric use of marine resources and palaeoceanography via mollusc shell geochemistry
Application deadline: **19th February**

Further information:

Supervisory team: 
Dr Philippa Ascough, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre 
Dr Erin McClymont, Department of Geography, University of Durham
Professor Maggie Cusack, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow 

The PhD project is one of a number of eligible projects for the NERC IAPETUS doctoral training partnership. PhD studentship places are to be awarded through open competition to the best candidates and funded at NERC Home & EU levels.
Potential applicants are encouraged to contact us for an informal discussion. Applicants should contact Dr Philippa Ascough ([log in to unmask]) in the first instance.

The project:
This project aims to develop stable isotopic and geochemical methods (including radiocarbon) for analysing annually-resolved records that are contained within marine mollusc shells. These records are the key to understanding patterns of marine resource use by prehistoric communities and to reconstructing past oceanic conditions, including water temperature, salinity and the origins of ocean currents. The project will use ancient marine mollusc shells that are available throughout the North Atlantic region at coastal archaeological sites, hosted in deposits known as ‘middens’, or archaeological refuse deposits. These records stretch back over 10,000 years throughout the Holocene period, upon which this project will focus. In addition, the project will use modern analogue samples of mollusc shells that are grown in controlled conditions to understand features of shell geochemistry that remain poorly understood.

The student will develop analytical methods on existing mollusc shell samples from a range of archaeological sites across the North Atlantic. In addition, analogue shell samples will be grown in controlled conditions to refine our understanding of how stable isotopes (particularly of carbon) and shell geochemistry (including radiocarbon) reflect the conditions of shell deposition. The student will receive training in laboratory analytical techniques such as inorganic geochemistry, stable and radiogenic isotope analysis (potentially including clumped isotopes), as well as microscopic analysis and micromilling of samples.

Stipend: Full tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and an annual stipend in line with UK Research Councils (currently £13,726). Candidates must be among the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort. A relevant master's qualification is an advantage. Candidates with degrees from EU institutions are strongly urged to determine if their scores/grades are equivalent to the relevant eligibility criteria.