Ph.D. position

Göttingen (D)

Ph.D. position monetary history

The Philosophical Faculty, University of Göttingen, Germany, invites applications for one 3-year PhD position. The successful candidate will be appointed to the ERC Consolidator project “Weight and Value”, sponsored by the European Research Commission and based at the Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, and will be expected to begin on August 1, 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter. The post will be filled according to the Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L, 75 % working time.

Description of the project and job content
During the Later Bronze Age the use of weights and measures in Europe (beyond the Aegean) emerged, based on present evidence, more than 1000 years later than in the East Mediterranean or Western Asia. The ERC project “Weight and Value” which runs from August 2015 to August 2020 will investigate how this affected the conduct of trade, its integration and the dynamics of local economies and its social consequences during the Bronze Age from the wide perspective of European, West and South Asian archaeology, anthropology and economic and social history in a comparative, but meticulous and methodologically novel way. In an integrated approach it will use archaeological data, 3D scanning and statistics.

The doctoral researcher will focus on gold finds as potentially weight-regulated artefacts (artefacts which were produced according to specific weight standards) in one or two major regions of Europe. This could be, for example, Western, Central, North or Southeast Europe. The specific focus of the PhD project will be adjusted to the specific qualification of the candidate. The weight of the gold objects will be systematically sampled in order to assess the amount of gold in use during the Bronze Age in one or two major regions of Europe. In addition, the PhD candidate will investigate potential weight regulation of the gold artefacts. By applying a strict methodology and with the help of the Principal Investigator and the other team members the candidate will attempt to identify and study potential data and analyse its metrological relevance by using archaeological, sequential and statistical indications. In cases of positive identifications, the PhD student will then investigate the implications for the economic integration, interregional exchange and organisation of European Bronze Age societies. The material is available and will be studied in numerous museums and excavations storerooms in various countries in Europe. The advertised PhD project will be part of a general project idea of uncovering unidentified data and document insufficiently studied objects relating to weight metrology in Europe, the Mediterranean, West, South and Central Asia. We are looking for a person who has already worked in her/his Master’s thesis on the material culture of the Bronze Age. The candidate would preferably be acquainted with economic history and the application of statistical methods. Various linguistic skills, besides excellent skills in English, written and spoken, will be much appreciated and highly useful for a successful completion of the PhD project.

Beside writing a PhD under the supervision of the Principal Investigator (PI), the successful candidate is expected to


  • work in close cooperation with the other team members 
  • present papers at conferences, workshops and public meetings, and represent the research group either with other members of the group or alone
  • publish in journals or conference proceedings (individual and/or co-authored)
  • participate in yearly workshops organised by the ERC project


It is expected that the successful candidate will be present, part of the team and partake in the activities of the “Weight and Value”-team on a daily basis.

The European Research Council (ERC) is a European funding initiative, designed to support the best scientists, engineers and scholars in Europe. Its mandate is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe, selected by peer review evaluation, through competitive funding and to support investigator-initiated frontier research across all fields of research, on the basis of scientific excellence.

Application procedure
Applicants need to hold a two-year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or the equivalent. Applicants shall have submitted their thesis at the time of application, in cases where the thesis forms part of their Master’s program. If you have not obtained your diploma by the application deadline, you must include a statement (pre-approval) from your university that declares that you have been awarded the Master’s degree.

Applications must be submitted electronically and sent to: Bianca Gürntke

The application must include the following:


  • A copy of the applicant’s Master’s degree diploma and transcript of records
  • Bachelor’s degree diploma and transcript of records
  • If the MA diploma and/or examination records are in a language other than English, German, French, please include a translation into either of these languages in your application.
  • Documentation of English proficiency (more information below).
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A summary/excerpt from the Master’s thesis or pdfs of a maximum of two other publications (if applicable)


Applications which do not adhere to the formal requirements will be dismissed.

Diploma and transcript of records: The translation of diplomas/certificates (if not in English, German or French) and transcripts may be made by or approved by either:


  • a state-authorized translator and interpreter
  • the embassy or consulate of the country where the original document was issued or where the translation was made


The PhD administration encourages applicants from within the EU to enclose a Diploma Supplement. The Diploma Supplement is part of a common European framework for transparency of competencies and qualifications – the EuroPass framework.

Applicants with a non-German Master’s degree will have their degree assessed by the University of Göttingen in order to establish if the Master’s degree is equivalent to a German Master’s degree.

Documentation of proficiency in English: Applicants whose first language is not English have to prove a good working knowledge of English. Their proficiency in English must be certified with an international recognised test. Applicants who have not submitted documentation of English proficiency will be dismissed.

The following tests are accepted:

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English at least with the grade ”B”
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English at least with the grade “C”
  • International English language Test System (IELTS)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language)
  • UNIcert level III
  • Further accredited and standardised certificates may be acknowledged if their equivalence to the above mentioned tests has previously been officially recognised. 

The language test certificate should not be more than 2 years old at the time of application. Excepted from the need to prove language proficiency are students with English as first language and students with a two year study or working experience in an English speaking country within the last five years.

For further information, please contact the Principal Investigator of the “Weight and Value” project, Professor Lorenz Rahmstorf.

Application deadline: July 14th, 2017 at 23.59 (CET).
The University of Göttingen is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply as they are underrepresented in this field. The university has committed itself to being a family-friendly institution and supports their employees in balancing work and family life. The mission of the University is to employ a greater number of severely disabled persons. Applications from severely disabled persons with equivalent qualifications will be given preference.

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