Funded PhD – Ceramic Traditions of Early Northern China: Painted Pottery in Context with the British Museum & School of Archaeology, University of Oxford

3-year Studentship in Chinese Archaeology/Ceramic Analysis

The British Museum and the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, are pleased to invite applications for a funded doctoral studentship awarded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

This 3-year studentship is for research in Archaeology on the topic ‘Ceramic Traditions of Early Northern China: Painted Pottery in Context’, starting in October 2017. The studentship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit.

The successful applicant is expected to have obtained (by September 2017) a Masters Degree in Archaeology or Archaeological Science or a related field and should be proficient in spoken and written English and preferably Chinese. Application deadline is noon on 21 April 2017.

The project

The student will be integrated into a project focusing on early painted pottery in northern China associated ´primarily with the Yangshao (c. 5000-3000 BC) and Majiayao cultures (3000-2000 BC). Being very similar in form and decoration over a large area, this high-quality pottery is usually seen as belonging to the same ceramic tradition. What is lacking, however, is detailed research into the manufacturing technology and production sequence. This project addresses this gap in archaeological and scientific research on early painted ceramics from northern China.

The student will take advantage of the largely overlooked collection of early pottery at the British Museum (BM), including about 50 complete vessels and a considerable number of sherds from middle to late Neolithic northern China. It is expected, that the student will analyse the BM ceramic collection and compare it to material from other collections and recent excavations in China. Techniques of analysis shall include macroscopic identification of form and fabric combined with scientific invasive and non-invasive techniques.

Supervision and training

The DPhil will be supervised jointly by Dr Anke Hein (University of Oxford) and Dr Michela Spataro (British Museum). The degree will be awarded by the University of Oxford. The student will have opportunities to participate in additional training and other opportunities provided to CDP students by the National Museums, British Library and National Archives.

Application process

The deadline for applications is noon on 21 April 2017. You will need to apply for both the programme and this studentship via the main University online graduate application form, and pay an application fee of £75. The application form, all supporting materials required for the programme (including references) and payment must be submitted by the appropriate studentship deadline. To access the application form and application guide please visit our website at

On the application form, in the section headed ‘Departmental Studentship Applications’, you must indicate that you are applying for a studentship and enter the reference code for this studentship “17ARCH01WEB”.

University of Oxford is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from all candidates irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religious belief and sexual preference.

The Studentship

The project will fund a full-time DPhil studentship for 36 months. Throughout the research process, the student will divide his or her time between the British Museum and the University of Oxford, where a full academic training programme is provided.

As well as undertaking research training at the School of Archaeology University of Oxford, the successful student will also be inducted and trained at the British Museum where he or she will learn about this unique institution and its collections. The student will also be expected to participate in a specially designed common research training programme run especially for all CDA students supported by the National Museums, the British Library, National Archives, English Heritage and other holders of AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships.

There will also be opportunity to realise six months of funding available through the Student Development Fund in order to undertake a relevant training course in the production of prehistoric pottery and to undertake a one month Museum work placement which would be arranged between the departments of Asia and Scientific Research (SR).

The award will include UK University fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and an additional £550 annual stipend payment for Collaborative Doctoral Students per year over three years (for further information consult

Entry requirements

You must:

 Have or a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent.

Have obtained a masters-level qualification by the time you start.

 Be a resident of the UK or European Economic Area (EEA).

In general, AHRC studentships are available to students who are settled in the UK and have been ordinarily resident for a period of at least three years before the start of postgraduate studies. Fees-only awards are generally available to EU nationals resident in the EEA. International applicants are normally not eligible to apply for this studentship.

The normal minimum requirement for applicants is to have obtained (or to be near completion of) a taught or research Master’s degree in a relevant subject at a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) with a confirmed (or predicted) overall grade of Merit (60+) or above, and a grade of 65+ in the dissertation.

Applicants whose first language is not English (or who have not previously obtained a University degree in English) are required to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language. Our normal minimum requirement is an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.5 overall (with at least 7.0 in each component).

The student will ideally have existing knowledge of ceramic analysis, including scientific techniques and Chinese language skills, but this is not essential.

Closing Date for formal applications is noon on 21 April 2017.

Start Date: The preferred start date is the 1st of October 2017.

Duration: 36 months

End Date: 30th September 2020.

Informal enquires can be made, or further details about the research project’s scope discussed, by contacting Dr Anke Hein ( or Dr Michela Spataro (



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