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For more information about the project and the post please contact

For more information about the application procedure please contact Anja Schatz (

FINDER ERC Project: Research Technician position in Archaeological Science (f/m/d)

The ERC-funded FINDER project ("Fossil fingerprinting and identification of new Denisovan remains in Pleistocene Asia") is looking for one 1-year research technician in Archaeological Science. The successful candidate will focus on the identification of faunal assemblages and the discovery of new human fossils from South East Asia and adjacent regions, through the use of collagen mass fingerprinting (or ZooMS). She/he should have a background in prehistoric archaeology/ archaeological science/ zooarchaeology/ biochemistry, and a strong interest in the fields of human evolution.

FINDER is a multidisciplinary research project funded by the European Research Council (2017-2022) focusing on the discovery and analyses of new human fossils from Pleistocene Asia through the application of collagen peptide mass fingerprinting, also known as ZooMS, and other scientific methods (ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating, stable isotopes) on small and otherwise undiagnostic bone fragments. We are looking for the remains of archaic or modern humans from the period between 200,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Thousands of bones are excavated at an average prehistoric site; of these, only those with anatomical characteristics are studied and may be taxonomically classified. The vast majority of bone fragments, however, are small and lacking diagnostic features. These unidentified assemblages are very likely to contain human bones too fragmentary to be attributed securely to humans. The use of ZooMS allows us to examine these bones. For more information about the project see

One of the most time-consuming parts in the large-scale application of ZooMS is the sampling of individual bones at their location of storage. The successful candidate will work closely with the project’s Principal Investigator Dr Katerina Douka ( She/he will be expected to spend considerable amount of time travelling and sampling bone assemblages from several archaeological sites in Europe and Southeast Asia and processing them either in their country of origin/storage or in Germany. The spectrometric analyses will be performed at the Max Planck facilities in Jena. Laboratory training will be provided.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate competence in working alongside interdisciplinary teams and ability to act independently when visiting and sampling collections. This position requires extensive travelling; if this is a concern please contact Katerina Douka for further clarification before applying. The start date is flexible, please indicate when you are able to take the post if successful.

This is a technician position with a research focus based at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany.

Your qualifications


  • Bachelor degree or equivalent qualification in Archaeology, Archaeological Science, Biology, or a closely-related field.
  • Willingness to undertake routine tasks, often at remote locations and unsupervised.
  • Willingness to travel between Europe and Asia and spend considerable amount of time at each location working with different archaeological teams.
  • Practical experience with laboratory techniques, or willingness to work at a laboratory environment.
  • Fluency in English (speaking, reading and writing).
  • Effective time management skills and ability to efficiently coordinate research and data analyses.
  • Interest in prehistoric (especially Palaeolithic) archaeology and familiarity with latest developments in the field of human evolution.


  • Fieldwork experience at Asian Palaeolithic sites.
  • Familiarity with archaeological and archaeological science methodologies, such as zooarchaeology, stable isotopes, chronometric dating, or similar types of analyses.

We offer

  • The opportunity to work with the FINDER team and associated institutes and collaborators and under the Max Planck Society umbrella.
  • Intellectual, technical and resource support for undertaking research within the FINDER Project.
  • Training in laboratory methodologies, such as ZooMS (and radiocarbon dating if required).
  • An English-language working environment.
  • Contract for 1 year with the potential of extension if funds become available.
  • Flexible start date.

Remuneration will follow the public service pay scale (TVöD), according to qualification 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 also seeks to increase the number of women in the sciences and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

To apply

We will accept applications from interested candidates until September 15, 2019, or until the position is filled.

Please send us:

  • A cover letter expressing your interest in the project’s objectives and outlining your experience. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the broader relevance of the research, and the ability to think creatively and critically, as well as their will to travel on business.  
  • Your CV
  • A piece of written (published or unpublished) work in English (no more than 5 pages long).
  • Names and contact details of 2 referees - Please note that when submitting your documents in our application portal you'll be asked for contact information of your referees. Your referees will receive an email containing a link where they can upload their letter of recommendation. Please note that the deadline for submission of these letters is the same as the one for the applications.

Submissions will only be accepted if they are sent through the online application and are received in full by the application deadline.


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