PhD Studentship in Heritage Studies x 2

Department of Archaeology

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 28th Jan 2021
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, International Students, UK Students
  • REF: JD25528
  • Closes: 07th March 2021
  • Hours: Full Time

Applicants are invited to apply for two PhD studentship in Heritage Studies in the Department of Archaeology to begin in October 2021. The successful applicants will conduct research towards a PhD in Archaeology as part of the project ‘Yangshao Culture: 100 Year Research History and Heritage Impact’ funded by the Beifang International Education Group, supported by the Shanghai Academy of Guyewang Studies and hosted by the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre and Department of Archaeology.

The Yangshao Culture refers to a Neolithic culture (5000-3000 BC) that existed along the Yellow River in China and was distributed over 10 provinces, with the highest densities in Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi. The Yangshao Culture has been granted a central role in the development of agriculture, pastoralism and the invention of new material forms in Chinese prehistory.

The ‘Yangshao Culture: 100 Year Research History and Heritage Impact’ project analyses the historiography of the Yangshao Culture and its functioning as a heritage icon for the Chinese nation. There are three strands of analysis, of which these studentships will contribute to two strands.

Studentship 1 will conduct heritage orientated research to analyse the use of archaeological interpretations of the Yangshao Culture and assignment of contemporary significance to the Yangshao Culture as local as well as ‘Chinese Heritage’. Focusing on claims made by individual provinces at the local governmental level, the research will investigate how links between prehistory, heritage and contemporary identity claims are constructed. The student will provide new evidence and interpretations regarding how local governments seek to promote recognition of their own version of the Yangshao Culture as World Heritage, and contest and negotiate their heritage claims with neighbours. The student will work to provide better understanding of what unifies or separate accounts given to support these claims.

Studentship 2 will conduct heritage orientated research to analyse how commercial exploitation of branding provided by reference to the Yangshao Culture is created, articulated and how in turn this may impact ideas of the past. It will also focus on the growing valorisation of the Yangshao Culture through its commercial branding and investigate whether specific aspects of the Yangshao Culture are selected and others ignored as part of its commercialisation. Finally, the studentship will consider if and how commercial and governmental narratives co-exist, whether they might reinforce each other, or cause tensions around meanings and claims.

Applications are invited from candidates with a Home or Overseas fee status. The studentships will provide an annual maintenance grant to cover living costs and will cover university tuition fees. The student will be able to apply to the project Principal Investigator for additional research costs and to cover travel for fieldwork and will be eligible for support available to PhD students within the Department of Archaeology.

The successful candidates will have obtained a Merit grade in a Masters degree in Heritage or a related discipline from a UK institution or the equivalent from a non-UK institution, or possess relevant professional experience. The candidates will demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level by meeting the University language requirements for admissions: Applicants will be required to meet the language requirements and, if required, be in possession of an accepted language test certificate at the point of application.

The successful candidates will also demonstrate competence in the Chinese language at a very high level as required for documentary research and conducting interviews. All applications should also include a CV, academic transcript, and a written statement, not more than 1,500 words, detailing whether they wish to be considered for one or both of the available studentships, their reasons for applying including statements of research aims, and how their prior experience would be drawn upon to the benefit of the research project.

Two references should also be provided. Candidates should ask referees to submit references by email to the Secretary of the Appointments Panel ( by the closing date of 7 March 2021.

A document containing the project summary and a check list of required documents is available to download from the link below.

Applications should be made by email to by 23:59 (GMT) on 7 March.

Interviews will be conducted via Zoom for all shortlisted applicants during March or April 2021.

On being notified of their successful studentship applications the candidates will be asked to make an application for the PhD in Archaeology through the University Graduate Admissions Portal Receipt of any studentship will be conditional on also being accepted for the PhD.

Informal email enquiries about the project should be directed to the supervisor, Prof Marie Louise Stig Sorensen ( or CHRC Centre Coordinator, Mr Ben Davenport (

Information about the Department of Archaeology and Cambridge Heritage Research Centre can be found on their website: and

Please quote reference JD25528 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.
Further information

  • Project summary & applicant checklist

Employer Achievements:

company award