Two PhD positions for the project “The impact of Roman imperialism in the West” (2.0 FTE) (222604-05)

Job description

Applications are invited for two fully funded, four-year PhD positions within the research project “The impact of Roman imperialism in the West: settlement dynamics and rural organization in Iron Age and Roman Portugal”, financed by the Regato Fund of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and coordinated by the PI, dr. Tesse D. Stek (GIA, KNIR).

The Roman conquest of the Mediterranean areas and beyond tied together a wild variety of landscapes and pre-existing polities. It was accompanied by incisive changes in the population, socio-political organization, culture and economy between the Iron Age and the Roman imperial period.
Both the character and the impact of the Roman expansion are hotly debated. New scholarship sheds a different light on the early phases of Roman expansion in the Italian peninsula. In order to track similar developments in other areas, it is essential to better understand the processes at hand in chronological, geographical and causal terms. Transnational comparative work, however, is hampered by different national research traditions and methodologies.
The project The impact of Roman imperialism in the West aims to contribute to this discussion by studying the westernmost area that was conquered by Rome. The project is made possible by a special fund managed by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. It aims to generate new understandings of the Roman archaeology of Portugal by international collaboration, moving its study into the center of the international debate on the Western and Central Mediterranean. The project is based at the GIA in Groningen and at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). The KNIR is an inter-university research institution with a long history in landscape archaeological projects as well as pre-Roman and Roman archaeology. The project collaborates with the universities of Évora and Lisbon, with joint field work projects.
The project will hire two PhD students, who will work together with the director of the project and the postdoc. The PhDs will work principally in Groningen but will spend the necessary time in Portugal and at the KNIR in Italy.

The PhD Project
In collaboration with the other team members, you will work on your own project on a region within the western Iberian area, modern Portugal. The project is expected to employ a landscape archaeological perspective shedding light on the development of your research area between the Iron Age and the early Roman incorporation. The focus will be on the rural settlement organization (settlement and land-use patterns, centuriation, roads/infrastructure) as apparent from field survey data and other non-invasive approaches. You will study the settlement evolution as a proxy for societal change, where possible using both old and new landscape archaeological data. Within your project, you are encouraged to include limited new field work using landscape archaeological approaches, for instance a field survey project and/or geophysical work for a couple of campaigns.

You will be asked to:

  • complete a dissertation on the changing landscape between the Iron Age and the Roman imperial period in a case-study in Portugal. The dissertation may take the form of a book or, preferably, as a series of (co-authored) journal articles, in English
  • collect legacy and new data independently as well as together with the principal investigator and other team members
  • (facultatively) organize small-scale, targeted field work in the case-study area and/or co-organizing field work from the umbrella project
  • co-organize research meetings within the GIA, KNIR and other (inter)national institutes
  • contribute to the project’s public outreach and social media activities
  • participate, limitedly, in the teaching as part of the regular curriculum of GIA and KNIR, and/or in the context of field work.



  • a research master’s or master’s degree in landscape archaeology, ideally on Pre-Roman and Roman Mediterranean/European archaeology
  • field survey experience
  • an independent, proactive work ethic
  • a flexible, mobile and internationally oriented mentality
  • excellent academic writing skills in English
  • passive knowledge of Portuguese / willingness to learn Portuguese.



The University of Groningen, founded in 1614, is an international research university in the north of The Netherlands. Our staff create and share knowledge through outstanding research and education. The Faculty of Arts – which includes the archaeology department – is located in the historic heart of the city of Groningen.

You will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities, affiliated with the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), a research institute of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. GIA engages in fundamental archaeological research in Northwest Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, and the Polar Regions. The Institute facilitates research and fieldwork through its laboratories, drawing facilities, documentation, GIS applications, and technical support (see website). Its Mediterranean Archaeology research group consists of six academic staff and about 18 post-doctoral researchers and PhD students. The group has an international reputation in the area of landscape archaeology. You will also have the opportunity to join the National Research School of Archaeology (ARCHON), which offers training and funding opportunities for PhD students in archaeology.


Conditions of employment

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

  • a salary of € 2,443 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,122 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

This 1.0 FTE appointment is temporary, for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued. The appointment will commence in January 2023.



Applications should be made in English and contain the following materials:

  • short statement (c. 1,000 words), explaining your motivation for applying;
  • curriculum vitae
  • copies of MA diploma and list of grades
  • copy of MA thesis
  • if available, a copy of an article, book chapter or other academic text, in any language but preferably in English, that you feel represents your work best
  • contact detailsx of two academic referees (referees of shortlisted candidates will be asked to supply a letter of recommendation; therefore, no letters are needed for the application process).

Please send in your application as two PDF files (one for the MA thesis, and one for all other documents), no later than October 27, 2022 11:59pm (Dutch local time). Use the application form by clicking ‘Apply’ below the advertisement on the University website.

Interviews with selected candidates will be held between November 14 – November 18, 2022.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:…)rsity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission’s European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

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For information you can contact:

  • Dr Tesse D. Stek (for information about the project),
  • Flip Kramer (for practical information regarding the application procedure),

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.