Further information

For queries, please contact:

Dr. Jessica Hendy


Dr. Christina Warinner

Your application

Start date: Position open until filled, initial application review on June 30, 2017.

Please submit your application in English as a single PDF file to dag-jobs@shh.mpg.de, including the following:

  • Cover letter, explaining research experience and reason for interest in this project
  • CV
  • Copies of advanced degree certificates (BA/BS, MA, and PhD diplomas or transcripts); if candidate is ABD and PhD is anticipated but not yet granted, please explain the circumstances in the cover letter
  • Names and contact information (email and phone) for 3 referees

Please ask your 3 referees to separately email a recommendation letter to dag-jobs@shh.mpg.de with your surname in the email subject line.

Job Offer Heirloom Microbes Project

Postdoc position in Anthropology and Ethnoarchaeology

The Department of Archaeology and the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is offering a two-year postdoc position in Anthropology and Ethnoarchaeology as part of the Max Planck Society Donor’s Award funded project ‘Heirloom Microbes: The History and Legacy of Ancient Dairying Bacteria’. Combining archaeology, microbiology, food science, and cultural anthropology, this project seeks to characterize and understand the role of microbial organisms in traditionally-prepared dairy products from Germany, Mongolia, and Jordan, as well as understand past and present dairying practices in each of these regions. This project, the Anthropology of Dairying, will be supervised by Prof Dr Christina Warinner and Dr Jessica Hendy.

This postdoc position will document and analyse traditional dairying practices in Germany, Mongolia and Jordan, with a particular emphasis on the role of processing techniques and microbial fermentation on these products. This project will have four main components:

  1. Perform ethnographic observation and interviews, documenting contemporary small scale and household dairy production in Germany, Mongolia, and Jordan
  2. Collect samples of dairy products and production materials
  3. Coordinate with project collaborators at the MPI-SHH and partner laboratories on the nutritional, microbiological, and molecular characterization of traditional dairy products and production materials
  4. Conduct public engagement activities, including the return results to participant communities, as well as local and international public outreach

Additional responsibilities include supervision of graduate students, and optional opportunities are also available to teach in the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS). 

Your qualifications


  • Have or are about to obtain a PhD degree in Anthropology, Archaeology, Nutrition Science, or related subject.
  • Training and experience in anthropological or ethnographic fieldwork
  • Strong knowledge of English and German
  • Strong organizational skills
  • An interest in milk and dairy production


  • Experience with archaeological fieldwork, archaeological science, or experimental archaeology
  • Experience with applying for and obtaining ethics review board approval for ethnographic fieldwork
  • Experience with government paperwork for sample collection, export, and import
  • Intermediate knowledge of Russian, Arabic, or Mongolian
  • Experience with interacting with large scientific teams

 Other points

  • Are passionate about the study of the human past, and looking for an opportunity to push the boundaries of new methods and come up with novel approaches for examining archaeological remains
  • Are keen to explore how archaeology intersects with other disciplines, in particular anthropological, biomolecular, quantitative and linguistic approaches
  • Have an strong academic record
  • Are enthusiastic and hard-working
  • Have excellent English writing skills

We offer:

  • The opportunity to be involved in exciting research projects that provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration
  • Support for field and laboratory research
  • Opportunities to learn new skills in archaeological and archaeological science methodologies
  • Cutting-edge facilities and equipment
  • An excellent research environment
  • An English language working environment

The overarching goal of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is to explore the history of humans using state-of-the-art analytical methods. Scientists from different disciplines, such as genetics, linguistics, archaeology, anthropology and history are working together to answer fundamental questions about the biological and cultural evolution of man from the Paleolithic until today, and they jointly develop innovative methods, in particular in the areas of genome sequencing, language documentation, bioinformatics and phylogeography.

We offer an interesting and responsible job in a competitive, dynamic and stimulating international research environment. Remuneration will follow the public service pay scale TVöD level E13 for full-time employment (100%), corresponding to an annual gross salary of 50,900-53,600 EUR, depending on qualifications and experience. In addition, social benefits are paid according to the regulations of the Civil Service.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. Information regarding the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History can be found at www.shh.mpg.de.

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