Investigating the social drivers of passage tomb construction via organic residue analysis and compound-specific radiocarbon dating

PhD Studentship (Irish Research Council Laureate Project Scholar) with the University of Bristol and University College Dublin

This 3.5 year fully funded PhD studentship offers an exciting opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary archaeological chemistry research at the University of Bristol in collaboration with University College Dublin. The studentship is funded as part of the Irish Research Council Consolidator Laureate Grant to UCD School of Archaeology lecturer Dr Jessica Smyth for the ‘Passage Tomb People’ project. The student will work as part of a team aiming to identify the social drivers of passage tomb construction in the 4th millennium BC, focusing on the archaeology of three key zones – Ireland, North Wales and Orkney. The overarching aim of this PhD studentship is to probe the connections between monument construction and changes in farming practice, diet and environment. This will be undertaken via organic residue analysis of absorbed lipids in archaeological potsherds and radiocarbon dating.

As an Irish Research Council Laureate Project Scholar, the student will become a member of a vibrant, interdisciplinary research group at the Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, supervised by Professor Richard Evershed and Dr Jessica Smyth.

Candidates should possess a degree in a relevant subject area, such as a 2:1 or higher in chemistry, archaeology or a related discipline.

Through the University of Bristol’s online postgraduate study application portal:

Closing date: 10th May 2019

Informal enquiries to Professor Richard Evershed ( or Dr Jessica Smyth (