Research Engineer in Geochronology & Environment

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

The 18-month research engineer position will be devoted to establish and date potential tipping-points in the paleoenvironmental record from the pollen analysis of a deep-sea core collected in the NW Mediterranean Sea, and statistically correlate them with the archeological record of SE France and NE Spain, corresponding to the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic period. This core will be dated using 14C dating technique from the end of the Upper Paleolithic until ca. 40 ka, and luminescence methods for the whole core. This approach will allow us to evaluate whether a synchrony, and thus eventually a correlation, exists between cultural changes and climatic transitions. With this aim we will also use different statistical techniques. This research will be carried out in synergy with that of a post-doctoral researcher who will reassess the traditional classification of Middle and Upper Paleolithic technocomplexes and explore their connection with climate change.

Adequacy of the project with the objectives of the GPR

Our research project aims to: a) identify potential environmental and cultural tipping points during the upper Pleistocene, b) test whether there is a correlation between them, and c) evaluate the role of climate in the emergence of new techno-complexes. This research is in line with the objectives of the GPR Human Past, which aims to detect and understand tipping points through time in cultural evolution and the impact of climate change on them.

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