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Victor Pimentel - Fwd: ERC Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations PhD Studentship

Hello all,
J os Iriarte <J>sends this call for applicants for a PhD student at the University
of Exeter, UK, to work on an interdisciplinary project in the Amazon.
Dear all,
I would like to invite applicants for the following PhD studentship (below) associated to the European
Research Council funded project Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations. The project will
investigate the influence of the late pre-Columbian (1000-1492 A.D.) land use on Amazonian
landscapes, the impact of the 1492 Columbian Encounter (CE) and its modern legacy through the
comparative study of pre-Columbian land uses in four different regions of Amazonia by applying an
innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates archaeology, ethnohistory, archaeobotany,
paleoecology, soil science, landscape ecology and remote sensing.
Best regards,
J os
J os Iriarte, Associate Professor
Director of Research, Department of Archaeology,
College of Humanities, University of Exeter
314 Laver Building | North Park Rd | Exeter |EX4 4QE |UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1392 264513| Fax: +44 (0) 1392 264358
Personal web-site | Exeter web-site
European Research Council PHD STUDENTSHIP
Supervisors and Project Partners:
Jos Iriarte, Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter Dunia H. Urrego, Department of
Geography, University of Exeter
Charles Clement, National Institute of Amazonian Research, Brazil Flavia Costa, National Institute
of Amazonian Research, Brazil
The nature and scale of pre-Columbian land use and its modern legacy on Amazonian landscapes are
among the most debated topics in New World archaeology, palaeoecology and conservation. In
particular, the influence of late pre-Columbian populations in the little explored upland interfluves,
which constitute 95% of Amazonia, is still a matter of controversy. Recent interdisciplinary studies in
the Middle Purus-Madeira region of Brazil indicate that the modern floristic composition of these
interfluvial forests is partly the result of pre-Columbian activities and management practices. These
De : "Dan Sandweiss" <>
Date : 2014-03-21 13:31
Objet : Fwd: ERC Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations PhD Studentship
CM : Victor Pimentel
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studies show that past forest manipulation was not limited to pre-Columbian settlements along the
major rivers of Amazonia, but that it extended over interfluvial areas considered to be pristine primary
forests today. However, previous studies have yet to incorporate archaeobotany and palaeoecology to
reconstruct the vegetation and fire history of these locations, which in turn, will allow us to assess the
modern legacy of past pre-Columbian forest management. This PhD project will fill this gap by
focusing in the application of archaeobotanical/palaeoecological techniques in collaboration with Dr.
Clement and Dr. Costa from the National Institute of Amazonian Research, Brazil.
As part of the PhD project, the successful candidate will reconstruct the landscape history of the
Middle Purus-Madeira interfluves by: (i) carrying out the excavation of test units in forest plots of the
Purus-Madeira Rivers; (ii) creating a modern phytolith reference collection of useful/economic plants;
(iii) undertaking phytolith and charcoal analysis from the soil test units; and iv) integrating gathered
palaeoecological with Drs. Clement and Costa floristic inventories (INPA team) as well as soil
geochemistry and remote sensing data gathered by the wider PAST project. Collectively, these multi-
proxy data will allow the candidate to assess ancient human perturbation and its modern legacy in this
interfluvial region. A two-month fieldwork season will be carried out in 2015, and additional field
expeditions will be planned depending on research progress and needs.
Training in phytolith and charcoal analysis as well as the excavation and collection of samples from
soil-depth profiles will be provided by Prof. Iriarte. Laboratory work will be based at the
Archaeobotany and Palaeoecology Laboratory, University of Exeter, UK. The student will join a
thriving environmental archaeology and palaeoecology research community at the University of
Exeter, with close collaborative links with University of Reading, National Institute of Amazonian
Research, and The National Institute for Space Research and the Federal University of Para. There
will be opportunities for the student to acquire relevant complementary skills (e.g. GIS, botany,
remote-sensing, statistics) within the Department of Archaeology and Geography at the University of
For more details and to apply visit:
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