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Two PhD positions in luminescence dating of earthworks - human landscape modifications in the spotlight

Do you want to unravel when, why and how people modified the Dutch landscape to deal with challenges and seize opportunities? Are you motivated to link …

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Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Do you want to unravel when, why and how people modified the Dutch landscape to deal with challenges and seize opportunities? Are you motivated to link scientific dating methods, archaeology and public outreach? Then we invite you to apply for a PhD position in our team!

We are looking for two hardworking PhD candidates to investigate past human landscape modifications with sophisticated methods. Specifically, you will develop and improve luminescence dating methods to determine when earthworks in the Netherlands were constructed, extended and/or modified. In collaboration with archaeologists, earth and soil scientists you will thereby help to reconstruct the evolution of the Dutch cultural landscape.
We envisage that one PhD candidate will focus on the low parts of the Netherlands, where most earthworks relate to the challenges of living with water (e.g. dikes and dwelling mounds).

The other PhD candidate will focus on the sandy regions, where many earthworks relate to agricultural practices (e.g. celtic fields, banks and plaggic soils). However, a different task division (e.g. method vs. application) may also be possible depending on skills and experience of the selected candidates.

The PhD projects are part of the interdisciplinary EARTHWORK project, funded through the NWO program 'Future directions in Dutch archaeological research'. EARTHWORK is a collaborative project in which Wageningen University joins forces with archaeological companies, research institutes, NGOs and museums. You should be motivated to interact and collaborate with these diverse stakeholders throughout the project and you are expected to communicate results with scientific peers as well as with professional archaeologists and the general public. The research should result in a PhD thesis, which consists of several publishable chapters.


  • Passion, creativity, and a proactive demeanor;
  • ambition to work in a multidisciplinary team and affinity with human landscape interactions in past, present and future;
  • MSc degree in Physical Geography, Archaeometry, Soil Sciences, Physics, or related field;
  • desire to perform fieldwork, laboratory work, and statistical analyses of complex datasets;
  • excellent communication skills and proficiency in English (both oral and written, similar to CEFR C1 level);
  • ability to learn Dutch through an intensive course if needed; familiarity with the Dutch language and landscape is regarded as an advantage but is not a prerequisite;
  • preparedness to supervise MSc and BSc thesis projects related to your research project, and to contribute to SGL teaching activities (10-15% of your employment).


A versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere. You will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (4 years total) if you perform well. Working part-time (0.8 fte for 5 years) is also possible.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can be agreed on to foster an efficient balance between work and private life;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.

Additional information

To learn more about this position, please contact Prof.dr. Jakob Wallinga; tel: +31 (0)317484040; e-mail: jakob.wallinga@wur.nl

For additional information about the process please contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail: edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

You can apply up to and including 31 October 2020. Applications must include (1) a cover letter summarizing your motivation to apply (max. 2 pages A4); (2) your CV, including a summary of your MSc thesis; (3) two references.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen is a centre for research and entrepreneurship. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. It is a historic university town of about 36,000 residents in the central Netherlands. The academic community hails from more than 100 countries, giving the town a lively, international feel. Our highly qualified team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
The WUR International Community page contains practical information about what we do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. And watch this video about our green bustling campus.

Equal Opportunities Employer
We encourage applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, gender, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. We believe that a diverse and inclusive work environment makes us a more relevant, more competitive, and more resilient organization. Click here to read more about working at WUR with a functional impairment.


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