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School of Culture and Society - Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) - Faculty: Arts
Two-year postdoctoral position: Simulation studies of the Roman economy

Deadline 28 Feb

Expected start 1 Sep

School of Culture and Society - Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Moesgård Allé 20 8270 Højbjerg

Fixed term full-time position 1 Sep 2022 - 31 Aug 2024 ID: 7494

The School of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral position at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions. The position is full-time and is expected to begin on 1 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

In its pursuit of academic excellence, the Faculty of Arts is committed to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, etc.

Applicants are expected to contribute to the department’s academic environment. We emphasise the importance of good working relationships among colleagues and with our students.
Research context
The postdoc will be part of the research project ‘MINERVA: Understanding the centuries-long functioning of the Roman economy’, headed by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Tom Brughmans and funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). MINERVA is an interdisciplinary project that draws on classical archaeology, network science and complex systems simulation.

The archaeology of the Roman Empire offers us a unique glimpse into the way in which large integrated economies can evolve over centuries. However, understanding how centuries-long economic changes emerge from the day-to-day behaviour of individuals requires new methods and vast amounts of data. This project will combine for the first time state-of-the art computer simulation techniques from complexity economics, the integration of newly available large ceramics evidence from hundreds of sites across the Empire needed to test hypotheses, and the first highly detailed model of the Roman road network offering the medium for flows of goods and information.
The position
We are looking for an intellectually flexible and dedicated researcher with a background in digital humanities, computer science, archaeology, economics, economic history, ancient history or classical archaeology, preferably with a specialisation in simulation, and with strong interests in computational methods in the humanities and archaeology.

The successful applicant and the PI will share responsibility for Work Package 4 of the project, which aims to apply simulation approaches from complexity economics to study the long-term functioning of the Roman economy. The applicant will review literature and computer code on macroeconomic simulation models, with a particular focus on agent-based models in complexity economics. They will design computational simulation experiments to explore hypotheses concerning the structuring effects of the Roman transport system and large population centres on the distribution of ceramics, and concerning the centuries-long functioning of a large integrated economy. Experiment design and Roman parametrisation of the models will be supervised by the PI and Prof. Andrew Wilson (University of Oxford), and simulation data analysis and model validation will be supervised by the PI and Dr Adéla Sobotkova (Aarhus University). The successful applicant is expected to collaborate on disciplinary and interdisciplinary publications with MINERVA team members on the topic of simulation studies and the Roman economy. The successful applicant needs good social and communication skills in order to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with project team members.

The successful applicant will be based in Aarhus at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet).

The successful applicant will be expected to:

Develop their research within the framework provided by project MINERVA, in cooperation with the PI and other project members
Develop the project’s simulation studies and hypothesis testing, in cooperation with the PI
Lead code development for the simulation and the input and output data, as well as their documentation and deposition following Open Science principles
Work both independently and collaboratively with the PI, experts and other postdocs from other disciplines, in particular classical studies, archaeology, computer science and history, with a view to presenting and discussing simulation models, empirical data, ideas and results
Present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals
Contribute to the organisation of research workshops and an international conference hosted by MINERVA towards the end of the postdoc period
Teach at BA and/or MA level (maximum 20%, by agreement, in English or Danish)

The position will involve limited teaching (maximum 20%), as agreed upon with the head of the department and the project PI.
Knowledge exchange
The successful applicant will be expected to exchange knowledge with various sectors of society and to contribute actively to public debate in areas related to the position. In particular, he/she will be encouraged to contribute to knowledge exchange opportunities at Aarhus University (in particular UrbNet and Classical Archaeology), and to present at international inter-disciplinary conferences.
Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in digital humanities, computer science, archaeology, economics, economic history, ancient history, classical archaeology, history, geography, network science, complexity science or similar subject fields.

Following the DFF funding body regulations, there is a requirement of a maximum PhD age of four years from the acquisition of the PhD degree to the application deadline. The four-year period may be extended by the length of any maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, nursing leave, military service, humanitarian aid etc. completed during the period. In connection with maternity/paternity leave, the PhD age can be extended by the number of actual leave months multiplied by two.

Applicants must be able to document a relevant research profile of high research quality.

Applicants must also document:

Research experience of simulation studies, preferably in the humanities or social sciences, and specifically economics, history or archaeology
Experience of independent code development for simulation modelling (e.g. using either Python, R, Netlogo, Java or C++)
A strong interest in or expert knowledge of the humanities or social sciences
Experience of the open publication and detailed documentation of computational methods
Experience of publication of simulation-based research
Familiarity with data management, data analysis and statistics
Familiarity with critically approaching empirical data in the humanities
An interest in or familiarity with GIS, Approximate Bayesian Computation and network science
An interest in developing humanities skills (including humanities data collection and critique, literature review, theory development, results publication)
An interest in collaborative, interdisciplinary work. Applicants need good social and communication skills in order to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with project team members and to establish external collaborations
Fluency in written and spoken English

Applications must be uploaded in English.

Applicants must submit:

A concise statement of their motivation for applying for the position (maximum two pages)
A CV (maximum four pages)
A maximum of five publications. Please note that only submitted publications will be assessed: a list of publications is not sufficient. Applications to which no publications are attached will not be assessed

The research activities will be evaluated in relation to the actual research time. We therefore encourage applicants to specify any periods of leave they may have had without research activities (e.g. maternity/paternity leave), so we can subtract these periods from the span of their academic career when evaluating their productivity.

Professional references or recommendations should not be included. Applicants who are selected for an interview may be asked to provide professional references.

For further information about the position and project MINERVA, please contact Principal Investigator Tom Brughmans by email: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!

For more information about the application, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn, e-mail Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!
The work environment
The Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) directed by Prof. Rubina Raja was founded in 2015 as a groundbreaking archaeological research initiative exploring the evolution of urbanism and urban networks from the Hellenistic Period to the Middle Ages. The centre is based at Aarhus University, School of Culture and Society, and is funded as a Centre of Excellence by the Danish National Research Foundation.

UrbNet aims to compare the archaeology of urbanism from medieval Northern Europe to the ancient Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean world, and determine how – and to what extent – urban networks catalysed societal and environmental expansions and crises in the past. The centre is firmly rooted in the humanities but enjoys close collaborative ties with the natural sciences.

UrbNet aims to advance the understanding of the historical process of urban evolution, and it does so by developing the ability of archaeology to characterise the scale and pace of events and processes. Recently developed scientific techniques afford the potential for archaeology to refine the precision of dates, contexts and provenance ascribed to excavated materials. UrbNet’s key ambition has been to integrate these new forms of data as a new, high-definition approach to the study of global and interregional dynamics.
UrbNet’s work comprises projects that intersect questions and problems concerning urban development and networks in the regions from Northern Europe via the Levant to the east coast of Africa. It involves elaborate work on empirical material from a number of existing excavation projects, and the centre aims to make substantial contributions to theoretical and methodological developments in the field.

Read more (UrbNet).
School of Culture and Society
At the School of Culture and Society, the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
From local questions to global challenges

The school’s goal is to produce compelling research with an international resonance, as well as offering teaching and talent development of high quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education.
Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.
Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order).

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.
Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities .
Further information on the application and supplementary materials may be found in Application Guidelines.
The application must outline the applicant's motivation for applying for the position, attaching a curriculum vitae, a teaching portfolio, a complete list of published works, copies of degree certificates and examples of academic production (mandatory, but no more than five examples). Please upload this material electronically along with your application.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.
Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting
Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Deadline 28 Feb

Expected start 1 Sep

School of Culture and Society - Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Moesgård Allé 20 8270 Højbjerg

Fixed term full-time position 1 Sep 2022 - 31 Aug 2024 ID: 7494
Anforderungen für BewerberInnen
language skills english or danish

phd no older than 4 years