Postdoctoral researcher in African archaeology (26591) – Ghent, Belgium

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 →  Apply before 01/01/2024 (DD/MM/YYYY) 23:59 (Brussels Time)
   →  Faculty of Arts and Philosophy  
   →  Department: LW21 – Talen en Culturen
   →  Occupancy rate:100%
   →  Number of positions: 1    
   →  Type of employment: Contract of limited duration 
   →  Term of assignment: 2 years 
   →  Wage scale:  PD1 to PD4 (doctoral degree) 
   →  Required diploma: PhD 


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 15,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.


Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral research position, starting in February 2024, to coordinate and carry out archaeological research within the ERC-funded CongUbangi project led by Prof. Sara Pacchiarotti at the Department of Languages and Cultures at Ghent University. The selected candidate will be part of the UGent Department of Languages and Cultures ( and operate within the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies (, associated with the UGent African Studies program ( All nationalities are welcome to apply.


The Congo-Ubangi watershed : An interdisciplinary approach to the genesis of a linguistic accretion zone in Central Africa (project’s acronym: CongUbangi)

Central Africa’s Congo-Ubangi watershed spans multiple ecozones in the northern margins of the rainforest. It is a major hotbed of linguistic, cultural and human genetic diversity with deep occupation history. This linguistic accretion zone is home to a complex mosaic of genealogically and typologically diverse languages spoken by small-size communities with different societal organizations, material cultures, and subsistence specializations. Despite the myriad of new insights it could generate about language evolution and deep human past, it is poorly known due to difficulty of access and an astonishingly intricate configuration.

The aim of CongUbangi is to understand the present-day interconnections between language, material cultures and genes in the Congo-Ubangi watershed and project them as far back into the past as possible through a holistic, localized and locally-enforced interdisciplinary approach. The project team’s core scientific expertise covers linguistics, ethnoarchaeology, and archaeology. Genetic and paleoenvironmental expertise is added through inter-university collaboration. CongUbangi will realize a breakthrough in our understanding of how linguistic diversity correlates with material culture and genetic diversity and why it originated and persisted in this specific ecoregion for millennia.

Archaeological research will aim at counteracting the paucity of archaeological underpinnings that has severely hampered prehistoric reconstructions of the region. It will focus on the remains of settlements in the vicinity of the putative homeland area of rainforest Bantu languages emerging from available linguistic phylogenies, but also in territories nowadays inhabited by Ubangi and Central Sudanic speakers which remain archaeological terra incognita. To bridge the ethnographic and archaeological datasets and establish which present-day material cultures, technologies and subsistence strategies can be traced back into the past, special attention will be given to durable material culture such as pottery, stone and iron objects, and the remnants of subsistence practices (faunal and botanical remains).


  • You will collaborate closely with and report to the PI, who is a historical linguist, and work with her and other project’s members on bodies of evidence from different disciplines. A keen interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the African past is required;
  • You will co-supervise a PhD student in ethnoarchaeology;
  • You will carry out at least two missions of archaeological fieldwork in the Nord-Ubangi, Sud-Ubangi, Mongala and Bas-Uele provinces of the DRC and possible adjacent regions in the Republic of the Congo and CAR. You will be responsible for their planning and coordination of these missions;
  • You will be expected to carry out both independent and joint research, and to disseminate research results together with the CongUbangi research team through publication in international peer-reviewed journals, conference participation and popularization for a wider audience.


  • You hold a PhD in archaeology;
  • You have done archaeological fieldwork in Africa, preferably in Central Africa;
  • You have the necessary leadership capacities to conduct an independent archaeological fieldwork mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
  • You have the ability to work in a collegial and respectful way with authorities, researchers and workers in Central Africa;
  • You are familiar with state-of-the-art survey and excavation techniques;
  • You have experience with ceramic analysis, archaeobotanical sampling and/or Geographic Information Systems (GIS);
  • You have published in international peer-reviewed journals;
  • You have presented at international conferences;
  • You have good knowledge of English as well as sufficient knowledge of French to do fieldwork in francophone Africa;
  • You are a dynamic and enthusiastic team member;
  • You believe that interdisciplinary collaboration is possible and/or desirable


  • We offer you a contract of definite duration with a maximum term of 2 years.

Your contract will start on 01/02/2024 at the earliest.

Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale PD1 to PD4.  Click here for more information about our salary scales.

All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, a bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).


Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.

Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘CV’: your CV
  • In the field ‘Cover letter’: your application letter in pdf format
  • In the field “other documents”: a reference letter

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Sara Pacchiarotti ( Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.

Do you have a question regarding the online application process? Please read our FAQ or contact helpdesk ( – tel. 09/264 98 98).

خصائص الوظيفة

تصنيف الوظيفةPostdoctoral

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