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Postgraduate Research Scholarships

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship – Communities of ceramic practice and the development of complex societies in the Jordan Valley in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC

Start date: 1st October 2021

Application Deadline: 17.00 Thu 10th June 2021.

Interviews for short-listed candidates will take place in late June.

Durham University and the British Museum (BM) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from 1st October 2021 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership S21. The project will examine patterns in ceramic manufacture and exchange as a means to investigate changing social and economic networks in the Jordan Valley during the Early Bronze Age

This project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Graham Philip and Dr Kamal Badreshany, Durham University and Dr Jamie Fraser and Dr Michela Spataro, British Museum.  The student will be expected to spend time at both Durham University and The British Museum, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK. The studentship can be held either full or part-time.

Project Overview 

The BM has one of the largest collections of Levantine ceramics in the UK. Many of these assemblages represent communities that flourished along the Jordan Valley (JV) during a critical period of proto-urban development known as the Early Bronze Age (EBA, 3600-2000 BC). These are displayed by site and have traditionally been described by form and decoration.  The project seeks to explore new narratives through the scientific characterisation of these ceramics, particularly concerning the provenance of their clays, and their sequence of production (the chaîne opératoire) involving clay preparation, surface treatment and firing. Methods will include petrographic analysis, automated SEM mineralogical analysis, geochemical analysis, archaeological science and textural SEM-EDS analysis at the scientific laboratories at the British Museum and Durham University. These analyses will help identify communities of ceramic production that emerged in the JV over time, and articulate networks of exchange that developed between them.

Research questions include:

  • How do patterns in ceramic manufacture and exchange reflect developing economic networks and horticultural production as village communities gave rise to nucleated, fortified settlements (3600-2500 BC)?
  • What do patterns tell us about the reconfiguration of such networks after fortified settlements were abandoned (2500-2000 BC)?
  • Do patterns reflect changing political and economic relationships between lowland JV settlements and horticultural communities in upland areas?

Details of Award

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent. The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities.

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2021/22 is £4,500. *

The award pays full maintenance for all students both home and international students. The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2021/22 is £17,159.  This includes an additional maintenance payment of £550/year for collaborative students, and additional £1000/year because the British Museum is based in London.

Further details can be found on the UKRI website

The Museum will cover the costs of travel and other research expenses up to £1000 per year.

The project can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.  There may be opportunities for the applicant to travel to the Middle East, Jordan in particular, in the course of the project.


  • This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants.
  • To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further guidance can be found here


  • We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area. 
  • Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include: Archaeology, Earth Sciences, Materials Science, or Ceramics.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the museum sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.
  • As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at both the University and the British Museum.


NB. All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding.


Project details and how to apply

To apply for this studentship, please apply for the Archaeology PhD using the Durham University application portal. In the ‘Funding’ section of the application, please select ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Have you either applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?’, then select ‘PGR-Research Council Studentships’ from the drop-down menu. Please set the award date as 1 October 2021.

When completing the on-line form, you should use the section ‘Personal Statement’ to explain why you are interested in this PhD and to explain your background and relevant experience.  You do not need to complete the section entitled ‘Research Proposal’, because the research project is already determined in this case.

For information on the Department of Archaeology, Durham University please visit our website.

For information about the British Museum:

Middle East Department, British Museum

Department of Scientific Research, British Museum,


The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in CDP Cohort Development events.