Central Asia is a key route for ancient human expansion out of Africa with early human migrants leaving behind stone tools in thick wind-blown dust (loess) deposits in Tajikistan, deposited over the last 2-3 million years. However, much remains unknown about the timing and environmental context associated with the first presence of modern humans and ancient hominins in Central Asia. This PhD position is part of an exciting cross-disciplinary project, involving scientists from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Tajikistan, that will answer questions such as when did humans arrive in Central Asia and what was the environment and climate like at the time. The PhD position will likely involve extended stays at one or more of the partner institutions. The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for developing and applying novel, quantitative past climate proxies and dust provenance records from loess at two key sites in Tajikistan. The successful candidate will be responsible for collecting, processing and analysing samples using multiple techniques such as clumped isotopes (Δ47), mineral magnetics and single grain provenance methods (e.g., detrital zircon U-Pb dating).
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