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Three-year assistant professorship: Landscape organisation and the spatial dynamics of late prehistoric grazing regimes

The School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University invites applications for a three-year assistant professorship. The position is full-time and is expected to begin on 1 April 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful applicant will be based in Aarhus at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Moesgaard.

The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates.

Research context
The assistant professor will be part of the research project ‘Anthropogenic Heathlands: The Social Organization of Super-Resilient Past Human Ecosystems’ (ANTHEA), headed by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Mette Løvschal and funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Across the planet, pastoral regimes are currently transforming into other types of land-holding, while privatisation processes are rapidly turning former large-scale, collectively governed pastures into parcelled-up areas. This increases the need for knowledge about the long-term resilience and vulnerability of human-nature entanglements and (collaborative forms of) land governance. A northwest-European pendant, the anthropogenic heathlands, emerged more than 4,000 years ago, when small-scale agropastoral communities in Northern Europe began the first fire-based management of naturally occurring heather. Some of these grazing regimes, spanning thousands of hectares, existed until the 18th-19th century. Without frequent disturbances, anthropogenic heathland will turn into dwarf shrub or forest. So the survival of these areas suggests the existence of highly specialised forms of human-landscape entanglements and biosocial organisation with the unique capacity to persist. This project envisages a new understanding of the social organisation of past grazing and fire-management regimes, and seeks to radically alter our knowledge of emergent, long-term human-nature entanglements and ecologies thriving on disturbance.

The position
For this particular assignment, we are looking for an intellectually flexible and dedicated researcher with strong analytical skills related to GIS and landscape archaeology – and with interests in landscape organisation, spatial modelling and environmental humanities more broadly. The applicant should have good social and communication skills in order to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with project team members and establish external collaborations.

The successful applicant and the PI will share responsibility for Work Package 4 of the project, which is aimed at the first-ever examination of the spatial organisation of heathland management responsible for their emergence and extremely long-term persistence. The applicant will be working with these issues across multiple scales, from the spatial organisation of settlement and funerary sites as well as “off-site patterns” to large-scale spatial organisational patterns such as population fluctuations and areal colonisation/abandonment. Essentially, and in conjunction with the other WPs, WP4 will seek to shed new light on the social organisation of heathlands in the Late Neolithic-Early Iron Age as well as the collaborative dynamics embedded in these landscapes, including the interplay between structures of regulation pertaining to the household and larger communal or sub-communal structures of organisation.

The work package is partly based on seven case study areas in Northern Europe (2800 BC-AD 1000). The applicants should therefore be prepared to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with the project team members and be willing to acquaint themselves with other kinds of data.

Applicants are asked to submit a three-page research proposal in which they present a landscape archaeological perspective on the spatial dynamics of heathland organisation, and propose ways to expand this sub-project, focusing particularly on key methodological issues of interest and approaches.

In addition, applicants should submit:

  • a concise statement of motivation for applying for the position (maximum one page)
  • publications (maximum five).
The successful applicant will be expected to:
  • develop their research within the framework provided by the grant awarded, in cooperation with the PI
  • present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals
  • contribute to the organisation of research workshops and an international conference by the end of the postdoc period
  • teach at BA and/or MA level (maximum 20%, by agreement)
  • work both independently and collaboratively with the PI, experts and other postdocs from other disciplines, in particular social anthropology, archaeology and paleoecology in terms of presenting and discussing empirical data, ideas and results.
The successful applicant will be based in Aarhus at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

Qualifications and job requirements
Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in landscape archaeology, history, geography or similar subject fields.

Applicants must be able to document a relevant research profile of high research quality, including experience of international publication and research dissemination.

Applicants must also document:
  • expertise in GIS-based landscape analysis
  • experience with archaeological landscape and site analysis
  • experience with obtaining, building, combining and analysing larger data sets from online repositories, reports and/or published literature
  • an interest in spatial modelling methods, including site density maps, statistics and population modelling
  • an interest in human-landscape interactions over longer timespans
  • the ability to work both independently and collaboratively with supervisors and peers, in particular across landscape archaeology, history and paleoecology
  • fluency in written and spoken English and a willingness to acquaint themselves with Danish.
Applications must be uploaded in English.

Please note that only publications that are actually submitted with the application will be assessed; a list of publications or cover pages will not be sufficient. Applications that are not accompanied by publications will not be assessed.

References or recommendations should not be included with the application. Applicants who are selected for a job interview may be asked to provide professional references.

Members of academic staff at Aarhus University are expected to contribute to a vibrant, enjoyable and cross-disciplinary work environment, and we emphasise the importance of participation in the daily life of the department.

For further information about the position and the ERC project (including a project description), please contact ANTHEA Principal Investigator Mette Løvschal by email

For more information about the application, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn by email

International applicants
International applicants are encouraged to check family and work-life balance and attractive working conditions for further information about the benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling. Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a relocation service and career counselling for expat partners. For information about taxation, see Taxation aspects of international researchers' employment by AU

Research environment
The archaeology programme at Aarhus University has an international profile and strong research networks. A dynamic research environment provides the framework for large research projects, international conferences and a variety of visiting researchers. The environment is versatile and cross-disciplinary, and the academic staff’s research competences span topics ranging from war and power, mobility and globalisation, family and individual, religion and rituals, landscape and settlement, paleo-demography and evolution, trade and networks, technology and knowledge exchange to (in particular) quantitative analysis methods, field methodology and digital representation.

The School of Culture and Society
At the School of Culture and Society, the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:
  • From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
  • From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
  • From Danish cultural forms to other very different worlds
  • From local questions to global challenges
The school’s ambition is to produce compelling research with an international resonance as well as to offer teaching and talent development of the highest quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society as a whole, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education. For further information about the school, please see

Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners: Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here:

FormalitiesIf nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.
All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of four main academic areas at Aarhus University.
The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 500 academic staff members, 260 PhD students, 10,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society, the Danish School of Education, and the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.
The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at

Deadline: 24 January 2021


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