Palaeoenvironmental Archaeologist

Durham, United Kingdom
£24,285-£28,762 per annum/ pro rata
21 Sep 2022
End of advertisement period
19 Oct 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Department of Archaeology

Grade 5: - £24,285-£28,762 per annum/ pro rata
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 19-Oct-2022, 6:59:00 AM 

Job Title: Palaeoenvironmental Archaeologist
Department: Archaeology
Grade: Grade 5
Salary range: £24,285-£28,762 per annum

The Department and role purpose

Archaeological Services Durham University provides archaeological and heritage services to the development industry. The range of activities conducted is wide, and includes excavation, evaluation, geophysical survey, artifact conservation, palaeoenvironmental analysis and consultancy. The focus of operations is northern Britain, although works are often conducted elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

As part of the Archaeology Department, it also supports departmental teaching and research, for example through the provision of income generation, research, fieldwork and student training programmes.

Our Palaeoenvironmental Archaeology Service has been established for over 25 years and incorporates the full range of palaeoenvironmental studies, from the recovery and identification of carbonised seeds from archaeological excavations and evaluations, to the assessment and analysis of ancient environments uncovered by schemes such as quarrying or drainage. Our work is supported by state of the art laboratory facilities and extensive reference collections.

The purpose of the role is to complete the assessment and analysis of plant macrofossil and wood/charcoal remains and produce reports on them for a wide range of archaeological projects conducted through Archaeological Services. It is a development role, such that skills and attributes can be acquired to allow progression to a high grade.

Core responsibilities:

  • Act as a knowledgeable team member without responsibility for team members.
  • Plan and organise own workload with involvement with project work streams.
  • Resolve queries and requests for information and advice and escalate more specialist and complex queries or issues to more experienced team members.
  • Respond to needs to deliver and shape an excellent palaeoenvironmental service
  • Apply theory and practice, from academic and professional development and previous knowledge within the service team.
  • Contribute to collaborative decision making within the team.
  • Work collaboratively across the organisation and/or externally with colleagues to deliver the palaeoenvironmental service.
  • Provide guidance and advice to resolve problems and queries within the team.
  • Collaborate with team members to implement service alterations.
  • Organise and schedule resources and activities within the lab as appropriate.
  • Identify priorities and monitor processes and activities to ensure success.
  • Provide more in-depth independent research and analysis activities within the role.
  • Analyse work activities to ensure the effective and efficient use of capital and consumable equipment and resources.
  • Provide demonstrations and instruction to others outside the team.
  • Support the capture of business requirements from users and work with colleagues to translate these into recommendations for future service provision.
  • Liaise with contacts and participate in networks and communities internally and externally, contributing to effective collaborative working.
  • Advise others and make recommendations on work processes and procedures for consideration by senior management to improve services.

Role responsibilities:

  • Deliver high level plant macrofossil and wood/charcoal projects   to meet sector and professional body standards.
  • Produce project reports on palaeoenvironmental remains in fulfilment of client requirements in a commercial environment.
  • Ensure the smooth running of the Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory.
  • Apply knowledge and skills to maintain and repair laboratory equipment.
  • Utilise new and existing resources to deliver Archaeological Services’ objectives.
  • Prepare and set-up laboratory equipment and facilities for Archaeological Services’ activities.
  • Liaise with others to maintain the palaeoenvironmental sample store and keep accurate records of samples.
  • Liaise with academic staff and students and colleagues across the University to ensure a smooth and efficient service.
  • Provide supervision for laboratory activities, including for students and staff.
  • Prepare safety documents and risk assessments for Archaeological Services’ activities.
  • Record, present and analyse palaeoenvironmental data accurately.
  • Maintain the good working order of laboratory equipment, particularly  microscopes,under the supervision of more experienced staff.
  • Any other reasonable duties

Specific role requirements

This is an Archaeological Services development role. The successful candidate will have the ability and potential to develop skills in palaeoenvironmental archaeology. A development plan will be created in conjunction with the successful candidate, focusing on the requirements of the Grade 6 (higher) role, and taking into account their individual needs. This plan will be regularly reviewed and form the basis of the assessment to move to the Grade 6 (higher) role.  It is anticipated that the development process will take 1 year to complete, however it may be extended if the University considers it necessary. Upon successful completion of the development programme and plan, the post-holder would move to the Grade 6 (higher) post (Senior Technician (Palaeoenvironmental), the job description for which is available here.

If the post-holder is unable to meet the full requirements of the Grade 6 (Higher) post at the end of the development process, subject to performance, they may be retained in the Grade 5 (lower) post.

The place of work will mainly be within the Archaeological Services Palaeoenvironmental Laboratories

Occasional out of hours work to meet project timetable requirements

For further queries, please countact charlotte.obrien@durham.ac.uk or e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk

Durham University is committed to equality diversity, inclusion and values Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.


  • Experience of producing high quality reports on palaeoenvironmental archaeology *
  • Experience of managing time to meet deadlines.* 
  • Professional knowledge and expertise in the analysis of plant macrofossils and/or wood/charcoal remains *
  • Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes. 
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions. Experience of working in a team.
  • Post-16 qualification or equivalent experience.
  • Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Good oral and written communication skills.


  • Experience of monitoring activities of self and others to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to.
  • Experience of undertaking palaeoenvironmental project work within a commercial environment.
  • Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Relevant industry and professional recognition and certification of achievement of skills and knowledge.

How to apply

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. Where there are desirable criteria we would also urge you to provide any relevant evidence. Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above). While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview. Submitting your application We prefer to receive applications online. We will update you about your application at various points during the process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails

What you are required to submit:

  • A CV
  • A supporting statement that shows examples of how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification Hiring Manager. 

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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