QUADRAT DTP: Landscapes of Production: Exploring the Palaeaoenvironmental Context of Stone Tool Quarrying, Manufacture, Use and Deposition on Neolithic ShetlandSchool of Natural and Built Environment | PHD
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The Landscapes of Production project will explore the palaeoenvironmental context of felsite tool quarrying in Neolithic Shetland. Shetland is the northernmost part of Europe where agriculture was practised during the Neolithic, and shortly after arriving on Shetland in the early 4th millennia BC, people began to quarry and manufacture polished stone tools on an impressive scale (Cooney et al 2019). The preservation of these quarries is unprecedented, yet we know little about wider Early Neolithic society. The project will address this gap by using geospatial and palaeaoenvironmental analysis to explore the environmental context of these artefacts, including important questions surrounding the function of tools, and the rate and timing of deforestation during the Neolithic period.
The project will have three work packages:
1) Data Collation and synthesis: This step will involve the collation of existing archaeological and palaeoecological data into a geospatial database, and comparing these to similar datasets on Orkney and The Western Isles. The geospatial component will form the data management backbone of the project
2) Data collection and fieldwork: Palaeoenvironmental data for Shetland focuses largely on Mainland. The small number of cores from elsewhere on the island suggest differing patterns of deforestation and landscape change in Prehistory (Edwards et al. 2005). Given the incredibly rich prehistoric archaeological record on Shetland, there are still relatively few detailed palaeoenvironmental studies of vegetation and landscape change. This step will involve the collection of cores at two contemporary Neolithic sites associate with felsite tools at Modesty (settlement) and on Ronas Hill (quarry). Pollen analysis and associated proxies (e.g. microscopic charcoal, non-pollen palynomorphs, and sediment geochemistry) will be combined with 14C dating to produce new high-resolution records of vegetation and landscape change for these areas, with specific focus on the Neolithic period.
3) Data management and analysis: This step will use data on archaeology and palaeoecology collected in step 1 and new palaeoecological data collected in step 2, to explore ways to model this relationship in past landscapes, using spatial statistics and land-use modelling approaches. It will then identify significant relationships between landscape change and archaeological activity.
Applicants will be expected to have some background in palaeoecology and/ or archaeology. The project will include training in necessary skills including geospatial data management, spatial, analysis, fieldwork and palaeaoenvironmental techniques. There is also an opportunity to work with Geopark Shetland on heritage mapping and communication.
Cooney, G., Megarry, W., Markham, M., Gilhooly, B., O’Neill, B., Gaffrey, J., Sands, R., Nyland, A., Ballin, T B, Murray, J. and Sheridan, J A. (2019) Tangled up in blue: the role of riebeckite felsite in Neolithic Shetland. In: Mining and quarrying in Neolithic Europe: A social perspective. Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers (16). Oxbow, Oxford, pp. 49-65.
Edwards, K, Whittington, G, Robinson, M. and Richter, D. 2005. Palaeo environments, the archaeological record and cereal pollen detection at Clickimin, Shetland, Scotland, Journal of Archaeological Science, 32; 12, 1741-1756
This project is in competition for funding.
This project is funded by the NERC QUADRAT-DTP and is available to UK/EU nationals who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria. Please visit www.quadrat.ac.uk for more information.
The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, stipend and a research training and support grant subject to eligibility.
The research undertaken within Geography falls under two interdisciplinary Research Clusters; Environmental Change & Resilience (ECR) and Culture & Society (C&S).
Physical Geography-related projects focus on themes such as long-term landscape and environmental change, resilience of ecosystems, environmental change impacts on heritage structures, and analysis of contaminated lands. Investigative approaches include a range of geo-spatial technologies such as remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), big data analysis and spatial and temporal modelling. Much of our research spans several disciplines, for example projects on the hydrogeology and restoration of bogs, climate change implications for resilience and stability of soil, geoforensics and coastal geomorphology. Funding opportunities to pursue these lines of research are available, including the doctoral training partnership, QUADRAT. Further details are available here: www.quadrat.ac.uk
The C&S cluster focuses on a number of themes, both historical and contemporary, which consider the relationships between human society, spatiality and culture. Two doctoral training partnerships provide relevant funding opportunities for research in these areas: NINE-DTP www.ninedtp.ac.uk and Northern Bridge Consortium www.northernbridge.ac.uk Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to make contact with potential supervisors during the autumn semester.
The four main research themes are:
The Geographies of Knowledge:
Research is focused on the geographies of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the cultures of science. The cluster has expertise on the relationships between science, race and religion since 1650; the historical geographies of scientific knowledge; the cultures of botanic gardens in the age of empire; the reception of Darwinism; the role of climate in debates about human cultures; the geopolitics of apocalyptic thought, and the ways in which cultures of science, technology and outer space are connected to questions of place, landscape and identity in the twentieth century.
Landscapes, Critical Cartography and GIS:
Research consists of quantitative spatial analyses of socio-economic data and qualitative cultural analyses of landscapes and cartographic knowledge from the medieval to the modern period. Critical cartographic/GIS techniques have been deployed to interrogate the veracity of the knowledge universe of the map, while digitally-translated documentary data have been used to re-configure our understanding of medieval urbanism and agrarian economies, as well as the spatial dynamics of religion and the politics of cartographic rhetoric.
Research is focused on nationalism and regional conflict; critical geopolitics of religion; monumental landscapes and the politics of memory; international relations in a globalised world; colonial and postcolonial geographies of India; the processes of border making, geographies of embodiment and the securitisation of public spaces. This work has been carried out from both historical and contemporary perspectives.
The Population Dynamics of Contemporary Societies:
Research is focused on the population dynamics of contemporary societies and includes census analysis; research on travel to work; employability and labour markets; as well as social and religious segregation particularly in divided cities such as Belfast; the study of borders and external migration.
Mode of study / duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD (or part-time equivalent).
Both research clusters attract funding from a range of sources including; NERC, EPSRC, ESRC; AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and JISC. The clusters have developed an international reputation in the themes identified in the overview as demonstrated by an impressive record of scholarly monographs and publishing agenda-setting articles that have informed and influenced research directions within the wider discipline of Geography. The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma and India.
Strong connections exist with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and with the School of Biological Sciences. Several staff are involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.
The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Korea, Italy, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma, and India.
Strong connections with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and is involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team on askEPS@qub.ac.uk. Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.
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|Northern Ireland (NI)||£4,407|
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