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 scholarship is part of an exciting cross-disciplinary project, involving scientists from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Tajikistan, that will answer questions such as when humans arrived in Central Asia and what environmental and climatic conditions were at the time. The PhD scholarship will likely involve extended stays at one or more of the partner institutions. The PhD project will be positioned within the field of Environmental Archaeology, and will explore connections in the past between humans and their environments in Central Asia. The successful candidate will be responsible for collecting, processing and analyzing soil and sediment samples from archaeological sites in Tajikistan using archaeometric tools such as stable isotope analysis and organic chemistry (e.g., coprostanols, bile acids), and inorganic chemistry (e.g., phosphate analysis).
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