Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship in Prehistoric Archaeology and Oceanography

Published: 12 March 2015

PhD studentship in Prehistoric Archaeology and Oceanography: Exploitation of prevailing winds and currents by the earliest known seafarers, reaching and colonizing Australasia c.50,000 years ago is now open.

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship in the Faculty of Humanities in collaboration with the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton. This studentship is funded through an SMMI Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Award, to start October 2015. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Helen Farr (Archaeology), Prof Robert Marsh (Ocean and Earth Science) and Dr Ivan Haigh (Ocean and Earth Science).

Around the modern world, migration is a politically charged issue, however, migration is an ancient phenomenon. Long-distance maritime migration can be seen as early as 60-50,000 years ago, with the movement of Anatomically Modern Humans from the Sunda basin (southeast Asia) to Sahul (Australasia). The archaeological record of early settlement is limited, but evidence suggests short crossings from southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and northern Australia at a time when sea levels reached c.60-80 m lower than today. This project brings reconstructions of past climate and ocean currents alongside archaeological evidence for the human colonization of Australasia, to better understand how ancient human migration was both a response, and a solution, to social and environmental challenges. Simulations of palaeo ocean drift in the region will be developed and used to investigate ancient seafaring.

Required: at least a high 2:1 honours degree and an MA (or equivalent) in Archaeology or an appropriate discipline. Candidates without an MA but with relevant experience will also be considered and are encouraged to apply.

Desirable: Candidates will have an interest in maritime prehistory and oceanography. Familiarity with sea-level studies, palaeoclimate and oceanography would be useful, but is not essential as training will be provided. However, the candidate should demonstrate that they have good numeracy and familiarity with statistical analysis and GIS.

The studentship is tenable for three years. A full stipend at RCUK-level will be provided, and all fees will be paid. There will be some limited funds for training and potential collaboration with Australian partners.

For further information please email Dr Farr at or Prof Marsh at

Closing date: 13th April 2015

Application for the studentship is by CV; a sample of written work (5,000 word max); and covering letter, explaining why you feel you are suitable for this research project. Please also arrange for two academic references to be sent independently by the deadline. All material should be sent to

Shortlisted candidates will be required to undertake a 1500 word proposal challenge by 27th April and will be invited to interview, by Skype or conference call if necessary. It is anticipated that interviews will take place in late April/early May 2015.

Privacy Settings