The School of Archaeology welcomes researchers from all backgrounds, and provides a vibrant environment in which to undertake postdoctoral research. The School has a track record of hosting successful Research Fellowships (please see the list of current and recent Fellows above), and provides an excellent range of facilities, including laboratories and research space. The School has close links with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology and the Pitt Rivers Museum; and the University’s library resources are world-renowned, with the Bodleian and Sackler Libraries particularly relevant for archaeological research.
School of Archaeology support and resources for Research Fellows:
- The provision of mentors or supervisors is an integral element of the Fellowship schemes, and these roles are fulfilled by academic staff within the School. In addition, the Head of School will hold one individual meeting with each Research Fellow each year.
- The School has a broad range of laboratory facilities, most of which are based at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA), which can be utilised by Fellows (please note that this must be built into Fellowship applications through discussion with the relevant School staff). Facilities include stable isotope, radiocarbon, genetic, geochemical, and physical material analyses.
- The School’s Research Support Officer provides regular updates on grant application opportunities to all researchers, as well as one-to-one support for researchers in drawing together applications. The Research Support Officer also circulates information regarding upcoming training opportunities offered within the University.
- The School hosts a wide range of seminar series, many organised by doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, and involving internal and external speakers. A list of the various seminar series, with information on their current programmes, is available here.
- Teaching opportunities can be offered, according to where Fellows are best able to contribute. There is the potential to work with the taught course elements of the undergraduate degree (the BA in Archaeology & Anthropology) – a full list of the undergraduate courses is available here. There may also be opportunities for specialist tuition through undergraduate and postgraduate taught-course dissertation supervision; a full list of our postgraduate taught courses can be found here.
The following resources at the University are available for the School's community of Early Career researchers, and colleagues working with them. If you have any queries relating to the guidance or the opportunities set out below, please contact either the School at firstname.lastname@example.org or named contacts provided within the links below.
University Code of Practice for the employment and career development of research staff
The University's Code of Practice is available as a pdf document via this link. The website includes Guidance for Researchers regarding career development, with a checklist of questions that may be useful to consider at different stages within the research contract, and Guidance for PIs, research group leaders, Heads of Department and Departmental Administrators working with research staff.
Guidance on Personal and Professional Development, and PDRs
The University website includes a Support for Researchers section, which contains information on a variety of topics, including Personal and Professional Development. This subsection includes guidance relating to Personal Development Reviews (PDRs)/Career Development Reviews (CDRs), via this link. Guidance on DIY Personal Development is also available via POD, at https://pod.admin.ox.ac.uk/developing-myself.
Training opportunities for career development
The University provides a range of training opportunities relating to career development, within and beyond academia. These include:
Social Sciences Division - the Division provides details of upcoming programmes of events relevant to Early Career Researchers’ professional development. Resources are listed under the following career development themes: Writing & communication skills; Research integrity; Knowledge exchange & impact; Funding; Wellbeing; Teaching; Fieldwork; and Project management.
People and Organisational Development - POD provides a course directory of training and workshops on a wide range of topics in professional development.
Careers Service - the University’s Careers Service offers support for career development both within and beyond academia
Guidance relating specifically to teaching and supervision opportunities is also provided at this link.
Applying for grants
Information about current archaeology-related funding opportunities is available on the School's Research Support webpage. More general guidance on research funding is available on the University website via this link. Funding is categorised as either Internal (provided by the University itself) or External (provided by external funders, such as the UK Research Councils or Charities). One important internal funding resource to consider is the John Fell Fund: applications for main awards (more than £7,500) can be made by researchers who hold a post that includes responsibility for developing their own research agenda; applications for small awards (up to £7,500) can be made by early career researchers employed by the University who aspire to an academic post or fellowship, but do not yet hold such a post, provided that the applicant has the support of their line manager (further details are available at the website).
Researchers interested in applying to all external and internal research grant schemes must first obtain School approval. Queries regarding potential funding applications should be sent in the first instance to the School's Research Administrator, Laura Morley.
The Research Applications Library for the Social Sciences (RAL) is a useful resource for researchers when preparing grant applications to external funders. The library archives past successful grant applications which have been deposited by Social Sciences researchers. All researchers employed within the Social Sciences Division at Oxford may apply for access to the library (the access request form is available via the link above).
SPECTRA (Society for Postdoctoral and Early Career Teaching and Research Staff in Archaeology)
This official society of the postdoctoral researchers within the School exists to facilitate networking between its members, represent the postdoctoral community at appropriate School committees, and promote the professional development of early career researchers. The Society organises meetings and workshops, and disseminates information regarding career opportunities. Officers are appointed every autumn, and there are various opportunities to support the Society (and gain experience in administrative activities within the University). The Society’s website is available here; please contact Dr Courtney Nimura for further information.
Oxford Research Staff Society
The University’s Oxford Research Staff Society is a forum for researchers throughout the University, which represents researchers within and beyond the University, and organises social and professional networking activities across departments and divisions. There are representatives from the School of Archaeology on the Committee. Every term the University also runs a welcome event for new researchers (more information is available here).
The School of Archaeology is keen to attract and support high-quality early career research. Since as recently as 2017, the School has hosted five British Academy Postdoctoral Fellows, three Leverhulme Early Career Fellows, three Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows and two Newton International Fellows, as listed below.
These Fellowships have covered a broad range of subject areas, including human evolution, palaeoclimate and palaeoecology, ancient and medieval economies, material culture innovation, social inequalities, and modern migrations. Fellows have gone on to pursue further research careers both within the School and at a variety of international institutions.
BRITISH ACADEMY POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS:
Dr Huw Groucutt conducted research on The Cultural Dimension of Neanderthal-Homo Sapiens Admixture at the Gateway to Eurasia, from 2016 to 2019, with Prof. Michael Petraglia as mentor. He is now a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, on the project Extreme Events in Biological, Societal and Earth Systems.
Dr Rachael Kiddey is a current Fellow, researching Migrant Materialities: The Material Culture of Forced and Undocumented Migrants in Europe, with Dr Lambros Malafouris as mentor.
Dr Samantha Neil is a current Fellow, conducting the research project Reconstructing Lifeways During the Mesolithic and Neolithic in North-west France, with Prof. Rick Schulting as mentor.
Dr Eleanor Scerri’s research project, What Effect did the Demographic Structure of Early Modern Humans have on their First Dispersals out of Africa?, was undertaken from 2014 to 2017, with Prof. Nick Barton and Prof. Julia Lee-Thorp as mentors. She went on to hold a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, from which she moved to an Associate Professorship at the same institution, within the Max Planck Society’s flagship Lise Meitner Excellence Programme. Within this framework, she heads the Pan African Evolution Research Group.
Dr Jade Whitlam is a current Fellow, conducting research on Farming before Agriculture: Investigating Variability in Plant Management and Consumption by Western Asia’s Earliest Cultivators, with Prof. Amy Bogaard and Dr Mike Charles as mentors.
LEVERHULME EARLY CAREER FELLOWS:
Dr Paul Albert conducted the research project Lake Suigetsu and Volcanic Ash, The Key to Synchronising Palaeoclimate Archives, from 2015 to 2018, with Dr Victoria Smith as mentor. He has been awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship at Swansea University College of Science, studying volcanic ash deposits in marine sediments to improve predictions of future eruptions and their impact.
Dr Tom Brughmans conducted research on MERCURY: Simulating the Roman Economy, from 2017 to 2019, with Prof. Andrew Wilson as mentor. He is currently a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona, where he develops innovative network science methods for archaeological research in general and for the study of the Roman economy specifically.
Dr Jane Kershaw’s research project on Britain’s Viking Silver Hoards: An Archaeological Analysis of the Sources and Uses of Silver in Scandinavian Britain (850–1050 AD), was undertaken from 2017 to 2019, with Prof. Helena Hamerow as mentor. She has gone on to become Principal Investigator on an ERC Starting Grant at the School of Archaeology in Oxford, with the project Silver and the Origins of the Viking Age.
MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE FELLOWS:
Dr Tanya Dzhanfezova is a current Fellow, researching the project Mapping Intentionality: Demonstrating Innovation in Neolithic Pottery Uptake in the Eastern Balkans, with Mr Chris Doherty and Prof. Amy Bogaard as mentors.
Dr Juanjo García-Granero conducted the research project An Innovative Approach for the Study of Culinary Practices in Past Societies (CUISINE), from 2017 to 2019, with Prof. Amy Bogaard as mentor. He will commence a 3-year 'Juan de la Cierva-incorporación' fellowship at the Institució Milà i Fontanals, Spanish National Research Council Barcelona, from January 2020.
Dr Alexander Weide is a current Fellow, researching NICHE - Investigating the Ecology, Composition and Exploitability of Wild Cereal Habitats in Relation to Agricultural Origins in the Near East, with Prof. Amy Bogaard and Dr Mike Charles as mentors.
NEWTON INTERNATIONAL FELLOWS:
Dr Scott Blumenthal undertook the research project Oxygen Isotopes in Primates and Implications for Early Hominin Ecology from 2016 to 2017, with Prof. Julia Lee-Thorp as mentor. From 2017 to 2018, he worked on the NERC project A Diet for All Seasons: The Role of Intra-Annual Variability in the Evolution of Hominin Diet in East Africa, as Researcher Co-I with Prof. Julia Lee-Thorp as PI. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon.
Dr Teresa Fernandez-Crespo is a current Fellow, conducting research on Identity, Social Inequality and Violence in Late Neolithic/ Early Chalcolithic Southwest Europe. On completion of her Fellowship in 2020, she will take up a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique (LAMPEA) at Aix-Marseille University.
JUNIOR RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS AT OXFORD:
Other independent postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities at Oxford are Junior Research Fellowships, which are provided and hosted by Colleges. Recent and current Research Fellows working in the field of archaeology include:
Dr Anna Blomley (JRF in Classics at New College, 2018–21), explores political, social and economic structures through the study of ancient landscapes; her current project focuses on the interaction between human activity and the natural environment in ancient Thessaly.
Dr Lisa Lodwick (PDRF at All Souls College, 2017–22), is undertaking the project Quantifying Cereal Cultivation and Processing in the North-Western Roman Empire, including the application of stable isotope and weed ecology analysis to archaeological plant remains at the School of Archaeology’s Archaeobotany Laboratory.
Dr Emma Loftus (JRF at Merton College, 2017–18), worked with Prof. Julia Lee-Thorp at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA), studying Pleistocene and Holocene marine shell remains and early coastal hunter-gatherer behaviours. Dr Loftus went on to take up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Moujan Matin (JRF at Wolfson College, 2016–19) is researching the history of materials and technologies in the Near and Middle East from ancient to modern times, currently focusing on the development of Islamic stonepaste wares in Egypt, Syria and Iran from the 11th to 13th centuries AD, and working at the School’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA).