Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location University of Queensland, School of Social Science
App. deadline 17/01/2018
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Archaeobotany of the Spread of Food Production in Eastern Africa

Global Archaeological Science Scholarships Round 1

This project will use archaeobotanical methods to understand the spread of food production in Eastern Africa. This region lies at a geographical cross-roads on the routes of migrating 'Iron Age' and pastoral communities across sub-Saharan Africa, and at the nexus of trade between Africa and the Indian Ocean World. Yet, owing to a lack of archaeobotanical evidence, the relationship of the expansion of agriculture to these processes is still poorly resolved. As part of ongoing collaborative research by UQ and the MPI-SHH ( on the coast and interior of southeastern Africa (particularly Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia), the candidate will draw on already excavated material and participate in new fieldwork to compile a high-resolution archaeobotanical dataset from transitional Later Stone Age to Iron Age sites across this region (c. 3000–500 BP). While an archaeobotanical background is not essential, previous experience with macrobotanical remains, phytoliths, and/or starch would be advantageous. Based at UQ the student will collaborate with the Department of Archaeology at the MPI-SHH in Jena, Germany with access across both sites to state-of-the-art facilities in archaeobotanical analysis, lipid residue analysis, stable isotopes, proteomics, ancient DNA, and radiocarbon and OSL dating, and are encouraged to integrate scientific methods into their project as appropriate.

Key publication:
Crowther, A., Prendergast, M., Fuller, D.Q. and Boivin, N. (in press) Subsistence mosaics, forager-farmer interactions, and the transition to food production in eastern Africa. Quaternary International doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2017.01.014. (Open Access, available online)

Interested applicants should contact the project supervisor as soon as possible to discuss their application.

For more details and instructions on how to apply:​.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Dr Alison Crowther