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Reference : UMR5199-SOLRIG-006
Workplace : PESSAC
Date of publication : Monday, February 22, 2021
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 9 months
Expected date of employment : 1 April 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : Monthly gross salary ranging from 2 648 and 3768 euros (depending on experience).
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : Indifferent
Human mobility is a key factor for the spread of genes and cultures, but it affects them in different ways. While genes spread exclusively by movements of people, cultural traits can spread independently and over long distances by cultural interaction. The goal of this postdoctoral project is to explore gene-culture co-evolution in Europe during the transition to farming by using a novel approach that will jointly estimate human mobility and material culture diffusion from both a genetic and archaeological perspectives.
The project is based on the assumption that mobile societies will be characterized by comparatively low isolation by distance, while less mobile groups will be geographically structured. It is also based on the widely accepted idea that similarities in material culture result from repeated interactions between individuals and groups, favored by individual mobility, exchange of goods, social information, technological knowledge and symbolic items. In other words, the more the material culture is similar, the tighter are the links between groups.
The role of geography in constraining or enhancing the development of past interaction networks and population movements is a major factor that has to be considered. The role of geographic distance and barriers in the spread of cultural and biological traits will be investigated with the aim of evaluating to what extent geography is a factor conditioning the diffusion of people, know-how, symbols and ideas. Individuals can be more or less isolated in landscapes and may not select a single optimum route due to several intrinsic cultural factors and but also external ones (resources availability, weather conditions….). Several methods including, least cost path modeling, resistance distance that incorporates both the minimum movement distance (or cost) and the availability of alternative pathways (McRae et al., 2008) may be used to explore the habitat connectivity.
However, the relationship between spatial, cultural and social propinquity may not explain alone the cultural geography, but the structure of the network itself may impact inter and intra sites dissimilarities. Network-based methods such as Social Network Analysis (SNA) are valuable tools for documenting and analyzing relationships between archaeological sites based on various cultural attributes. The focus on past communities in a networks perspective has been proven useful for approaching a wide range of research questions including the diffusion and adaptation of innovations (Hart and Engelbrecht 2012), belief systems (Erickson 1988), exchange (Markovsky et al. 1988), and mobility (Birch and Hart 2018). Documenting those processes is critical for the understanding of farming technology diffusion.
In this project we wish to analyze genetic and archaeological data jointly and with comparable methodologies. We will focus on Europe at the dawn of agriculture, circa 7500 years ago, a time period and region for which foragers and farmers genetic data, and data on their material culture, are available. The genetic dataset comprises hundreds of published samples from all over Europe for the target period, including genome-wide as well as mitochondrial and Y-chromosome data. The archaeological dataset is composed of an updated georeferenced database of personal ornaments produced by the last hunter-gatherers and the first farmers in Europe covering 48 archaeological cultures and recording hundreds of different bead types from more than a thousand burials and archaeological levels distributed throughout Europe.
The combined analysis of these data sets will allow investigating whether cultural boundaries limited gene flows and slowed down the Neolithic spread in some areas.
The candidate will have a primary role in the processing and management of genomic data (both ancient and modern), as well as the development of methods to jointly study the archaeological and genetic data. He/she will also contribute to the organization of an international meeting on culture/gene co-evolution at the end of the project.
The ideal candidate will have a computational background (knowledge of R and Python/Perl programming languages), strong skills in bioinformatics and biostatistics, network modeling, to handle and analyze genomic and cultural data. He/she will also have a strong population genetics background (with a particular focus on demographic modeling), and a deep interest in cultural evolution and archaeology.
We are seeking candidates who can communicate and write in English although fluent English is not mandatory. Applicants should have a PhD degree or demonstrate they have submitted their PhD dissertation for discussion.
The postdoc will be based at the PACEA laboratory of the Bordeaux University and will collaborate with archaeologists (S. Rigaud and F. d'Errico) and population geneticists from the University of Ferrara (G. Barbujani, S. Ghirotto). The postdoc will be a team member of the CNRS Momentum project led by S. Rigaud titled Symboling and neighboring at the dawn of Agriculture.
The successful candidate will receive financial support for attending international meetings, preparing publications, and covering expenses to fund short stays at the University of Ferrara (Italy).
Constraints and risks
Please contact Solange Rigaud (email@example.com) for any questions. Applications will need to be completed and submitted via emploi.cnrs.fr. Required documents include CV, motivation letter, relevant publications.
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