PhD postion „Marathousa“

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung


Job offer ref. #10-18003

The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN) is a member of the Leibniz Association and is based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. SGN conducts natural history research with almost 800 employees and research institutions in six federal states, and is also custodian of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Messel. At the site of Tübingen in Baden Württemberg the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP) offers historical flair in a university town with numerous local recreation possibilities.

The Senckenberg Research Institute invites applications for the following post based at the Department of Micropalaeontology in Tübingen:

PhD position (50%)“Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions at the paleoanthropological site of Marathousa, southern Greece: Drill core analysis from the lignite mine of Megalopolis”

The intramontane lacustrine basin near the town of Megalopolis on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece is a well known area with fossil bearing sediments including human remains, that are considered to be the oldest human fossils recovered in Greece. The sediments of the basin consist of Mesozoic limestone at its base, overlain by Pliocene lacustrine and fluviatile units, that are followed by Pleistocene conglomerates, fine sands, silts, and clays intercalated by lignite seems. Due to the latter, this basin is of financial interest and thus three open pit lignite mines excavate the lignite for providing southern Greece with electricity for the past 50 years. Due to the decadal-long operation of these mines large, unweathered exposures of the fossil bearing sediments make this area not only financially important but also an archaeologically and paleo-anthropologically unique region to study early human behaviour in a region that has long remained unexplored (Panagopoulou et al., 2015). During the last years, a team of archaeologists and paleontologists from Athens and Tübingen have surveyed and excavated systematically the middle Pleistocene Marathousa 1 member (~500-400 ka) of the Choremi Formation within the mine as an open air site where they found elephant and other faunal remains in association with stone tools. The site probably testifies to hominin activities that pertain to the exploitation of animal resources (Panagopoulou et al., 2015). The finds occur in a very fine-grained sedimentological matrix that has fostered exceptional preservation. The composition of the sediments together with finds of mammals living usually near shore and lithic assemblages, it is expected that the site support the hypothesis of a lake margin setting with human presence. In order to provide a paleo-environmental frame work of these and future findings within the Megalopolis mine and nearby sites such as Lakonis, Kalamakia, and Apidima (early and later Neanderthal sites) we recovered a first 103 m long sediment core in May 2018 next to the current excavation site and plan to drill at two other locations in 2019 in order to cover the paleo-lake’s margin, transition zones and the centre before the valuable paleo-environmental record will be destroyed forever by the lignite mine activities.

Your Profile:

  • M.Sc. in geosciences or a related field
  • experiences with sedimentology and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions
  • interest in working on topics regarding human evolution and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions
  •  strong English communication skills and proficiency in writing
  • willingness to participate in field work in southern Greece

What is awaiting you?

The international Marathousa Drilling Project is offering a 3-year position. The successful applicant will work on the drill core material from the Marathousa Drilling Project using geochemical and geophysical methods in order to uncover palaeoenvironmental and paleoclimatic changes before, during and after the archaeological finds discovered from the near by Marathousa excavation site in the Megalopolis Lignite Mine in southern Greece. The PhD student will closely work together with international collaboration partners working on sub-projects on the drill core material. Participation in field campaigns as well as presentations at workshops and conferences and the preparation of manuscripts for scientific publications are expected.
Salary and benefits are according to a half-time public service position in Germany (TV-L E 13, 50%). The contract should start on August 1st, 2018 and will initially be limited until July 31st, 2021. The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung supports equal opportunity for men and women and women to apply. Equally qualified handicapped applicants will be given preference. The place of employment is in Tübingen, Germany. The employer is the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung.

Please send your application, mentioning the reference of this job offer (ref. #10-18003) before June 26th, 2018 by e-mail (attachment in a single pdf document) and including a cover letter detailing research interests and experience, a detailed CV and copies of your certification and contact information for two references to the following address.

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Senckenberganlage 25
60325 Frankfurt am Main
For scientific enquiries feel free to contact Jun. Prof. Dr. Annett Junginger,

Achtung! Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbungen direkt an die Einrichtung, die die Stelle ausschreibt, und nicht an den Deutschen Museumsbund. Wenn in der Ausschreibung keine E-Mail-Adresse angegeben ist, sind Online-Bewerbungen nicht erwünscht. Vielen Dank!

Bewerbungsende: 26.06.2018