Project ESR6 Israel FlagPortugal Flag

Technology and Provenance of Inscribed and Stamped Documents on Clay

Project Description and Objectives

This project is aimed at investigating 2nd-1st millennia BC western Asiatic administrative networks through technological and provenance analyses of cuneiform texts, ostraca and clay sealings. This era witnessed the production and dissemination of a large quantity and variety of textual materials written upon clay: tablets by means of the cuneiform script, sealings and ostraca dealing with matters of state, administration, religious life or economy. ESR will approach the problem of locating the provenance and technology of these texts through physical and chemical analyses of their clay. The results will reveal details about the geographical history and administrative framework of the eastern Mediterranean zone.

Work Plan:
After the preliminary bibliographical work including the historic background, the PhD candidate will process to the selection of the texts, and, when possible, sampling in museums and collections. Previously extracted samples will also be analyzed. Preliminary NDT grouping by pXRF and portable Raman will be followed by petrography, fluorescent microscopy, XRD, VP-SEM-EDS, FTIR, TGA/DTA, LA-ICP-MS and IR-MS, to: (a) characterize the forming technology, mineral composition, element concentrations, firing and post-depositional processes, and (b) determine the provenance. The study will be concluded by historical and cultural interpretations.

Expected Results:
The project will concentrate on a broader spectrum of document types and time-span than hitherto studied, with the aim of pin-pointing their geographic origin and possible source of composition. Hence, it will bear significant reflections on questions of the location of unknown toponyms, the administrative and political structures and scribal traditions during the time span of 2 millennia.

Type of Contract and Benefits

The selected ESR4 will be offered a full-time 36 months employment contract by the Ben Gurion University of the Negev Desert (BGU)

The contract will include the following allowances:

Living Allowance (LA) = € 3380,57 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

ESR6 will be awarded a joint Double Doctorate degree the Ben Gurion University of the Negev Desert (BGU) in cotutelle with the University of Évora (UEVORA). ESR6 research project will involve secondments to the University of Evora (UEVORA), The Muza Eretz Israel Museum (MEIM) and the Nova Conservação (NC).

Additional Secondments to ED-ARCHMAT Beneficiaries and/or Partners could be planned according to ESR6 research needs.

Eligibility Criteria

Main Eligibility criteria are indicated in section ADMISSION RULES

ESR6 Specific Eligibility Criteria

One of the following certificates of English language knowledge, regardless of the date of obtainment:
IELTS with a minimum score of 5.0;
One of the language certificates recognized equivalent to IELTS 5.0 by the Foreign Languages Centre and detained at the webpage: or a declaration of having a Ba. and/or M.Sc. degree issued by a University in which courses are taught in English, i.e. "The medium of instruction was English". Certificates not included in the list above will not be accepted.
Valid GRE® General Test, possessed by the application deadline.

The start of the PhD Programme is 1st November 2018 and candidates should arrive at BGU by the October 14th 2018 at the latest.

Doctoral Training Programme: the minimum stay at Ben Gurion University of the Negev for being awarded the PhD Title is 18 months and the secondment periods must comply with this.

Candidates are required to meet the following criteria detailed at the following link:

All these requirements should appear on the student personal page in order to be admitted to the final exam.

Please note the local requirements for doctoral studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, as specified in the following link:, including mandatory credits, progress reports, and the appointment of a Graduate students' Committee of the Kreitman School.

Application Deadline

The deadline for the online submission of completed application forms available under section APPLICATION of the ED-ARCHMAT website is 15th July 2018.

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