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Senior Scientist

University of Vienna - Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

Location: Vienna - Austria
Salary: €55,242.60 to €64,415.40 or £46,327.60 to £54,020.11 (converted salary*) Annual gross salary
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd November 2021
Closes: 7th December 2021
Job Ref: 12500

The Department of Evolutionary Anthropology seeks to appoint a Senior Scientist in the field of Archaeological Science with expertise in chronometric dating using radiocarbon, in particular the radiocarbon dating of bone, but also charcoal, shell and other carbonaceous samples. The successful candidate should ideally have experience in the dating of single compounds (amino acids from bone collagen) using HPLC approaches, particularly with reference to samples of Palaeolithic age (material more than ~12-15,000 years old) from a methodological and applied point of view. The successful applicant will be part of a leading international team of researchers working across the fields of Human Evolution, Ancient DNA, Proteomics and Archaeological Science reporting to, and working with, Professor Tom Higham. The candidate will also participate in collaborative research projects and teaching courses in evolutionary anthropology.

Accurate radiocarbon measurement is crucial for archaeologists and prehistorians, but post-depositional contamination has the potential to skew the results, unless removed. One of the most important sample types in archaeology is bone, but the effective removal of contaminants from bone collagen can be challenging. Ancient bones (>30-40,000 years) are particularly affected. An alternative to the purification of bulk collagen samples is to isolate hydroxyproline, an amino acid found almost uniquely at significant abundance in collagen. Work has shown that, by isolating hydroxyproline using preparative high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and using this single amino acid for a direct radiocarbon date, it is possible to remove contamination. Although hydroxyproline does exist in nature outside of mammalian collagen, it is rare. A date on hydroxyproline from a bone is a demonstrably contaminant-free measurement.
We seek a Senior Scientist to work at newly developed laboratories in the University of Vienna’s Department of Evolutionary Anthropology on dating routine samples using established pretreatment methods, and also to apply these methods and single amino acid dating to Palaeolithic bones from across Eurasia. Ideally, the postholder will extend the methods currently used, develop new approaches and optimise them. We will be purchasing a new HPLC system and there is considerable opportunity for furthering other methodological and experimental techniques. The postholder will join a growing team of researchers, technician, doctoral students and administrators.

This full-time position is limited to six years. After this period, based on performance assessment, an extension is possible by mutual agreement. Annual gross salary will be between EUR 55,242.60 and EUR 64,415.40, with relevant work experience determining the exact amount.

For further information on the job description, profile, and application documents, and for the submission of applications (no later than 07.12.2021), please visit the Job Center of the University of Vienna.  Please click the above 'Apply' button to access.  

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