Postdoc Researcher, Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe - Finland/Hungary

The Department of Geosciences and Geography at the University of Helsinki and the Department of Environmental and Landscape Geography at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest are searching for a Postdoctoral Researcher for "The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe - The Underlying Environmental Drivers in the mid-Holocene".


The position is financed by the European Research Council and it is a sub-project of an ERC advanced grant called "The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe (YMPACT)" with Professor Volker Heyd.

The candidate will be supervised by Professors Heikki Seppä (Helsinki) and Enikő Magyari (Budapest) and is expected to based both at the University of Helsinki and Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

The maximum duration of the contract will be 2.5 years, depending on the date the postdoc will start. The starting monthly salary will be 3500 Euro. The position is a full-time research position, including some commitment for teaching or departmental responsibilities.


Recent ancient DNA evidence suggest that the period between 3000 and 2000 BC was important in shaping modern European genetic diversity. New eastern lines of ancestry arrived present in nearly all Europeans today, which were absent in both early farmers and hunter-gatherers from central and western Europe during the Neolithic transition. This coincides with archaeological evidence of striking migrations happening around 3100/3000 BC, arguably the most important since the introduction of farming in Europe some 3500 years earlier. Yamnaya populations moved from the Caspian and Pontic steppes to similar environments in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia, where their typical pit-grave burials called Kurgans, suddenly appear in archaeological records.

YMPACT is an international project with its 15 core team members to investigate the impact of these Yamnaya populations made on societies in southeast and east-central Europe, and assesses their legacy on societies in southeast and east-central Europe.

It is likely that climate and environment played a key role in the wider understanding of the Yamnaya Impact. Thus, as a suproject in YMPACT, we are seeking a postdoctoral researcher in palaeoclimatology or palaeoecology to investigate the environmental changes in SE Europe during the mid-Holocene (6000-4000 cal yr BP) using high-resolution multi-proxy records on changes in climate (humidity, temperature), and ecosystems (vegetation, fauna, productivity). The new data in the project will be based on high-resolution analyses of pollen and other microfossils in lake-sediment cores, which will be sampled from the study area in SE Europe, (e.g. the modern grasslands in eastern Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria), and will be supplemented with available palaeoclimate data based on various proxy records, palaeoclimate model output and existing records of vegetation and ecosystem changes in the region.


The candidate is expected to have a PhD or equal in earth sciences (geology, geography) or relevant biological or ecological sciences. The candidate is expected to have a good idea of the main methods, issues, and concepts of palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology, including relevant fieldwork and laboratory work, and basic skills of computing, including basic GIS techniques and ability or potential to learn to use the dynamic vegetation models and R program. The candidate must be motivated, committed and internationally oriented. The project will include fieldwork in the study region in SE Europe.


The deadline for applications is 31 December 2018. Apply here:

Applications must include curriculum vitae, list of publications, brief letter explaining the motivation for applying for the position, as well as a description of future goals. Please include also name and contact information of two referee persons.

Please submit your application as a single pdf file using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for job. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal.

Further information

Contact: Heikki Seppä, Professor of Quaternary Geology, Department of Geosciences and Geography, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland, phone: +358-9-191 50820, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Enikő Magyari, Scientific Advisor, Head of Department, Department of Environmental and  Landscape Geography, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary (phone: +36-1-411-6500/1738, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,