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Taphonomy of ornated wall in prehistoric caves ; a Multianalytical approach to study hypogean artworks biodegradation

Project Description and Objectives

The main objective of this study lies in the determination of the composition, the structure and the origin of concretions developing on wall surfaces in ornated prehistoric caves, from France, Spain or Portugal notably.

As walls bioalterations were discovered in other non-ornated caves, the main part of the work will be devoted to identify the nature of the micro-organisms when being at the origin of the bioinduced concretion (moonmilk).

A laboratory study will be carried out using the identified micro-organisms to try to reproduce the moonmilk.

A parallel approach could be performed using different techniques to determine the potential, the limits and impacts resulting from complementary methods. Among the following several could be used: Laser techniques like LIBS and Raman, XRF, TeraHertz, Synchrotron Radiation facilities for microXRD and Photoluminescence, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Uranium/Thorium dating, O18/D isotopes, either in laboratory or in situ when possible, depending on the portability of the equipments and the surrounding conditions.

The development of the analytical techniques will be realized in interaction with curators in charge of different cave art sites, so that they can apply them in ornated caves in the future.

In this context the objectives are:
To identify the micro-organisms producing the moonmilk
To develop a new procedure involving innovative techniques to perform in situ analysis of the moonmilk;
To discriminate between alterations due to weathering and those due to microorganisms (case study of white veils);
To introduce the developed method to curators.

Expected results:
Identifying the bio-induced materials and other generated minerals due to the environmental and physico-chemical conditions.
Understanding their genesis and dating them are the main issues. It is important to provide curators with a general view of the alteration process, to start to solve this important preservation problem.

Type of Contract and Benefits

The selected ESR12 will be offered a full-time 36 months employment contract by the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne (UBM).

The contract will include the following allowances:

Living Allowance (LA) = € 3452,10 per month corresponding to the monthly salary for the fellow before any deductions: contributions of both employers and employees to social security, pension, taxation.
Family allowance (FA) = 500€ per month. The LA will be paid only if the recruited ESR has a family* status at the time of recruitment.
Mobility Allowance (MA) = 600€ per month. The MA is a contribution to household, relocation and travel expenses.

*"Family" means persons linked to the researcher by marriage (or a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the legislation of the country where this relationship was formalised) or dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher.

Doctoral Degree

ESR12 will be awarded a joint Double Doctorate degree by the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne (UBM) in cotutelle with the University of Évora (UEVORA).

Secondments to the University of Evora (minimum 12 months) and to the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos are envisaged.

Additional Secondments to ED-ARCHMAT Beneficiaries and/or Partners may be planned according to ESR 12 research needs.

Eligibility Criteria

Main Eligibility criteria are indicated in section ADMISSION RULES

ESR 12 Additional Eligibility Criteria:
A good command of English language is required (minimum level C1 - Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR) and it will be assessed at the interview stage after shortlisting.

ESR12 Specific Requirements

Background in biology and material science; knowledge in analytical methods in archaeometry - M.Sc. degree (i.e. 2 nd level title, as defined by the Bologna Process), issued by an officially recognised academic institution, which grants admission in PhD programmes in the country of issuance - Doctoral Training Programme : the minimum stay at University Bordeaux Montaigne for being awarded the PhD diploma is 18 months.

Application Deadline

The deadline for the online submission of completed application forms available under section APPLICATION of the ED-ARCHMAT website is 9th September 2018.

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