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 did humans arrive in Central Asia and what was the environment and climate like at the time? The successful candidate will primarily be responsible for developing a chronology for the last ~2 million years at two key sites in Tajikistan, using paired cosmogenic nuclides with different half-lives. The project will involve fieldwork, lab work focusing on geochemical preparation of samples, and development of new techniques for burial dating of loess based on cosmogenic nuclides. The candidate will work under the supervision of Dr. Mads Faurschou Knudsen, and collaborate closely with PhD students and staff working at other Nordic/Russian/Tajik institutions within the fields of chronology, archaeology, and organic as well as inorganic proxies of past climate and environmental change.
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