Gepubliceerd op 18-09-2019

UvA Postdoctoral researcher in Archaeology

Project and job description

Material life and ethnicity in Amsterdam and the Low Countries (AD 1600-1800)

The project focuses on the evidence for material life, ethnicity, and diet in the district of Vlooienburg, Amsterdam (1600-1800). It is motivated by a desire to develop an integrated archaeological methodology that enables personal possessions, tableware and food waste recovered from cesspit deposits to be linked to historically-documented households. The project seeks to refine archaeological understandings of the material expressions of ethnicity, status, gender, and religious beliefs in relation to the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish inhabitants and other residents of the Vlooienburg. The project will also, significantly, enhance contemporary public understandings of the multi-ethnic roots of Amsterdam.

The initial job of the postdoctoral researcher will be to gather and collate data in support of this multi-scalar approach. The postdoctoral researcher will therefore initially specifically focus on the evidence for daily life and ethnicity among the Sephardic- and Ashkenazi Jews, within Vlooienburg. The postdoctoral researcher will then move on to seek out and acquire additional archaeological datasets from published and unpublished excavations in other Jewish urban enclaves. The results of this work will be published as a chapter in the final edited research monograph, setting the results from the Vlooienburg in a wider context. The postdoc will have the ability to carry out research on probate inventories as well as other historical and archaeological sources, and to analyze and present data spatially by means of GIS and other digital techniques. These skills will be of paramount importance for the second element of the postdoctoral project, which will be to construct an online searchable database. The postdoc will make use the data held by the City of Amsterdam, office for Monuments and Archaeology, and assembled by the two PhDs, to create a public-facing database that links possessions and all the other items recovered from cesspits, such as the food remains, to the historically documented households in the Vlooienburg. The purpose of this online data base, which will be hosted by the project partners, will be to create an innovative and durable legacy for the overall project. The online database will be constructed to serve as a freely accessible resource for international researchers in the historical and archaeological communities.

The postdoc will also liaise with the Jewish Historical Museum, and will provide logistical and practical support for the planned temporary exhibition, in June 2020. In the final months of the contract the researcher will also work closely with Prof. James Symonds and Prof. Jerzy Gawronski on the publication of the definitive peer-reviewed research monograph.


The successful applicant must have:
•a PhD in in a relevant field (such as Archaeology, History, Heritage Studies);
•proven skills in and affinity with the European City Archaeology and History, as well as (Dutch) archives and databases;
•strong background or demonstrable interest in the Archaeology and History of Amsterdam;
•track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
•enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
•strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research and organizational duties;
•good academic writing and presentation skills;
•good social and organizational skills;
•proficiency in English and Dutch;
•outstanding research qualities manifested in a high-quality PhD dissertation and (preferably) international peer-reviewed publications;
•keen interest in interdisciplinary research methods and approaches;
•willingness to travel abroad for research stays, conferences and project expert workshops.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 2 years.

The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 1,0 FTE (38 hours per week) at the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA) of the Faculty of Humanities. The intended starting date of the contract is 15 October 2019 and ends 31 August 2021 (end date of the project). The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3.389 to €4.138 depending on relevant experience, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.


University of Amsterdam
With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Faculty of Humanities – Research school AHM

Research at the Faculty of Humanities UvA is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, one of these schools, currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the NWO project ‘Diaspora and identity: an integrated archaeological and historica investigation into material life, ethnicity, and diet in the district of Vlooienburg, Amsterdam (AD 1600-1800)’, led by Prof. James Symonds and Prof. Jerzy Gawronski.

Additional information

For further information, please contact:
Prof. James Symonds

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.