Assistant Professor, Research, Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa Project

Durham, United Kingdom
£41,526 - £49,553
02 Sep 2020
End of advertisement period
08 Sep 2020
Academic Discipline
Arts & Humanities, Archaeology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Archaeology

Grade 8: - £41,526 - £49,553
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: To 30 June 2024
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 02-Oct-2020, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications  from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

Durham University’s Department of Archaeology is one of the UK’s best Departments of Archaeology with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. We are regularly ranked one of the top two Archaeology departments in the UK (e.g. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, The Guardian University Guide 2019,Complete University Guide 2019) and one of the top 4 globally (World University QS rankings 2020).

Our vision is to build upon our strengths as a world-class research department, whilst remaining ethical, authentic and sincere. We are firmly committed to the principles of equality and diversity for all our staff and students. We will offer broad thematic, chronological and geographical coverage, with world-class fieldwork projects, scientific expertise and a laboratory and commercial infrastructure to match. We are an outward-looking community – collaborating strategically with a worldwide network of scholars, institutions and heritage agencies and our archaeological and interdisciplinary research creates demonstrable societal and economic impacts, both in the UK and around the world.

The Role

We seek to appoint an exceptional researcher as a fixed term Assistant Professor (Research) in Archaeology with interests in the Landscape Archaeology of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the application of remote sensing, GIS and statistical methods to the interpretation of  large-scale settlement data. The candidate will take-on a leading role in progressing a major grant-funded project - Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) which is supported by the Arcadia Fund. The post is funded by, and tied to, the requirements of this grant. The broader project is searching for and documenting archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa (from Mauretania to Iran), using satellite imagery and aerial photography, to improve understanding and enhance their future protection and management. The post holder will work within a Durham University research team that is collaborating in the EAMENA project, with partner teams at the Universities of Leicester and Oxford. The Durham component of the project is focused upon Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, western Iran and the Caucasus.

Reporting to Prof. Graham Philip, EAMENA project director in Durham, the work of the postholder will encompass three main areas of activity:

  • taking the lead in developing key areas of the project’s research activity, including publications and grant applications;  
  • maintaining effective relationships with our UK partner institutions (Universities of Oxford and Leicester), other Arcadia funded heritage documentation projects, and our international partners and collaborators;
  • assisting the PI with overall project management and the supervision of Durham team members (currently three Grade 7 PDRAs).

This postholder will be expected to conduct independent research  and the post is focused upon the effective delivery and management of research aligned to the requirements of the EAMENA project, and is on the University’s ‘Research Track’ career path, which provides clearly defined opportunities for progression against defined criteria. In addition to taking forward existing project research, the postholder will be able to develop research projects and proposals utilising EAMENA methods, datasets and collaborations.

The candidate will assume a significant supervisory role within the project and must be willing to gain a working knowledge of, and engage in, the full-range of project activities.

The person appointed will be required to help the PI manage the general work of the team and assume responsibility for delivering at least one major area of project activity such as: the creation and maintenance of an accessible digital archive of historical aerial and satellite imagery and the associated processing of source material; the supervision of Durham’s component of the project database; maintaining excellent relationships with our in-country collaborators; the organisation and field direction of project fieldwork. As the project team is required to operate flexibly, the candidate may also be required to support training activity in partner countries, including both delivery and preparation of materials.

Project specific responsibilities will include:

  • Contribute to the creation of key datasets within the EAMENA framework. 
  • Lead on the creation of a digital archive of historic satellite and air-photographic imagery, including the sourcing of equipment and coordination of work-schedules with national and international collaborators.
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by advising the Principal Investigator and offering creative or innovative solutions. 
  • Act as a source of information, guidance and advice to other members of the group on methodologies or procedures.
  • Present research findings to audiences including research sponsors, academics, and non-academic heritage professionals.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Graham Philip, (graham.philip@durham.ac.uk).  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  • PDFs of two significant pieces of work which you have been involved with and an explanation of your input. Please note that your work may be read by colleagues from across the department; and
  • A personal research plan that is designed to encompass the opportunities offered by the EAMENA project (see above). 

This post is fixed term from 01.10.2020-30.06.2024 which is the end-date of the current project funding. The post-holder will be employed to work on a research project which will be led by another colleague. They will be expected to develop some independent research arising from the project, as well as leading research rising from the needs of the project overall.


You should provide details of 3 academic/research referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference (if they are not listed as an academic referee).

Please note:

  • We shall seek the academic/research references during the application process. Academic/research referees should not (if possible) include your PhD supervisor(s) and a majority should be from a University other than your own. We would ask that you alert your academic/research referees to this application as soon as possible so that we can quickly obtain references should you be progressed to the long list stage. Please note that it is our usual practice to provide a copy of your CV to your referee. If you do not consent to us sending your CV to your referees or if you do not wish (some or all) of your referee to be approached during the recruitment process; you must clearly indicate this to us at the time of your application. Academic/research references sought for long-listed candidates may be made available to the panel during the shortlisting process.
  • We will seek a reference from your current line-manager if we make you an offer of employment (albeit you may have also nominated your line manager as an academic referee).  Please clearly indicate which referee is your current line-manager and please let us know if we should only approach them once an offer has been made.

Next Steps

All applications will be considered.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to the University and will have the opportunity to meet with key members of the Department. The assessment for this post will include a presentation of your research plan and ambitions for the project, and a formal interview.

The Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate research excellence in the field of landscape archaeology, with the ability to fully engage in the services, citizenship and values of the University. It is essential that the candidate is both willing and able to travel to our partner countries, frequently, and at times for extended periods, as required by the needs of the project.

The University provides a working, research and teaching environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process.


Candidates must have capacity for and be progressing towards the independent development of internationally excellent research that produces high-quality outcomes, including some work that is recognised as world class.

The essential research criteria for this post are:

  • Applicants must have a good first degree and a PhD in Archaeology or a related subject
  • Evidence of high quality outputs, some of which are recognised as world class (or having world class potential) (Candidates are asked to submit two pieces of work as detailed below - advance drafts of publications are acceptable)
  • A personal research plan which explains how they would take forward at least two of the priority areas of the EAMENA project research:
  • Large-scale patterns of site destruction and heritage protection in the MENA region
  • Large-scale analysis of settlement and demography
  • The role of traditional landscape archaeology at continental scales
  • Machine learning and automated approaches to site identification
  • Advances in remote sensing platforms and sensors

The candidate may additionally identify areas of research not listed above, but which they see as offering synergies between their own research interests and the opportunities offered by the project.

Essential Criteria (research -related)

A. Income generation

The candidate should have a track record of engagement in the generation of successful research project proposals, and of income generation, commensurate with their career stage and opportunities available. 

B. Research Leadership

The candidate should demonstrate:

  • a track record of research leadership and in the successful management and delivery of one or more components of a research programme;
  • a contribution to the leadership of research groups, and/or associations of researchers and the mentoring of early career researchers. 

Candidates may choose to include information about research group leadership, mentoring of research colleagues, invitations to and engagement with external events and/or involvement with international networks or projects.  

C. Research impact

The candidate should be able to provide evidence of the impact of research s/he has been involved with, and an understanding of how such impact might be most effectively developed in this case.

Essential Criteria (project specific)


  • Significant experience of field archaeology in the Middle East and/or related areas
  • Substantial experience of using satellite imagery in archaeological research
  • Experience of working with historical satellite and/or air-photographic imagery


  • Excellent knowledge remote sensing methods, GIS and image analysis software
  • Demonstrable ability to manage a research project, set priorities and schedule competing demands in order to meet external deadlines 
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write good English text for publication and documentation, present research proposals and results, and represent the Durham EAMENA team at meetings
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including ability to engage effectively with both funding agencies and in-country partners. 



  • Track record of successful engagement with local partners in the Middle East or and Caucasus regions 


  • Good understanding of Arches database systems 
  • Some knowledge of, and ability to communicate in, Arabic

Services, Citizenship and Values

Candidates will be required to undertake a significant amount of project management and administration related to the project and may additionally be asked to take part in activity related to the research and research environment of the wider department.

Candidates must contribute positively to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.