Update: 20.04.2018

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

PhD Candidate on Micromorphology

The Section Human Origins of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University has a vacancy for a PhD Candidate on Micromorphology of southern Africa Pleistocene rockshelter deposits (1.0 FTE).

Project description

We are looking for a PhD-candidate to join the project Finding resolution for the Middle to Later Stone Age transition in South Africa, sponsored by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) with a Vidi grant.

The archaeological record of southern Africa is world-renowned and presents evidence spanning early hominins to the putative emergence of modern humans (Dusseldorp et al. 2013). A fundamental transition in this record is from the Middle Stone Age (MSA ~300 ka to ~30 ka) to the Later Stone Age (LSA). The chronology and causes of this transition are poorly understood. The transition takes place during the Late Pleistocene, when major global climatic re-organisations impacted southern African climates and ecologies. This project deals with the crucial question of if and how climatic developments correlated with technological changes and human adaptations (e.g. Ziegler et al. 2013; cf. Chase et al. 2017). Within the project, two rock shelters in eastern South Africa – Shongweni Caves and Umhlatuzana – will be investigated. The project focuses on: 1) changes in lithic technology and adaptation; 2) improved chronological control for this transition, and 3) environmental proxy data in direct stratigraphic/temporal relation to evidence for occupation.