|Funding for:||UK Students|
|Funding amount:||From £17,668 Tuition fees at the UK/Republic of Ireland level, plus an annual stipend paid at the UKRI minimum level (award for 2022/23, the level for 2023/24 is awaiting confirmation)|
|Placed On:||24th February 2023|
|Closes:||14th April 2023|
Supervisors: Prof Mary Lewis, Dr Selina Brace (NHM), Prof Hella Eckardt
Project Overview: Poundbury Camp cemetery in Dorset represents the largest collection of individuals living and dying under Roman rule that has been excavated in the UK. It offers one of the best opportunities to re-assess health, disease, population mobility and potential inequality in the north-west corner of the Roman world. The original analysis of the skeletons of these individuals was published in 1993, before both the advance of ancient DNA (aDNA) techniques, and the development of diagnostic criteria for blood and metabolic disorders. Reanalysis of the children in 2009 identified new evidence for rickets and scurvy, as well as the first case of thalassaemia (a genetic anaemia) in the British archaeological record. The high levels of metabolic disease in the children, who act as litmus paper for adult levels of disease, raises questions about the health of the adults living under Roman rule. Thalassaemia was first described in Mediterranean populations, although it is thought to have arisen in the tropics and subtropics. Its occurrence in Roman Dorset suggests the presence of Roman citizens from Italy and North Africa. Thalassaemia is now a disease present across the world, so the opportunity to examine the genetic sequence of this disease at a time when it first appeared in England, and to identify the carriers of disease (aka the parents of the children) is both exciting and challenging.
You will first examine the adults from Poundbury Camp, comparing the health (palaeopathology) of those from the general cemetery to potentially elite individuals. You will then carry out aDNA analysis to explore family ties and to identify the genetic signature for thalassaemia. The successful candidate will be supervised by staff at both Reading and the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London where the human skeletal remains are curated. You will receive training in aDNA analysis at the NHM’s dedicated ancient DNA facility, and tuition in the diagnosis of metabolic disease in human skeletal remains.
How to apply:
To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Archaeology at the apply button above.
Application Deadline: 14 April 2023
Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria.
For further details please contact Prof Mary Lewis: firstname.lastname@example.org
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