Heritage in the cross-fire; ballistic-impact driven stone deterioration

A Leverhulme-funded full studentship is offered at UWE Bristol which investigates the deterioration of stone after the impact of a ballistic (e.g. a bullet)

The position is available to start on 1 October 2018.

An increasingly aggressive approach to heritage as a commodity and a target in conflict has caused growing concern in the international community. In addition to increased incidents of looting, used to raise funds for hostile activities, numerous sites have been deliberately damaged and destroyed. Recent examples of these are the destruction of Palmyra, Mosul and the Great Mosque of al-Nuri. This destruction is not limited to the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq; for example widespread damage in Yemen and Mali has been largely unreported, yet is creating untold harm to cultural heritage.

In the light of this targeted destruction it is now more important than ever to conserve, stabilise and restore heritage in these regions as soon as and wherever possible. As part of the preparation for peace efforts, a swift response methodology needs to be established to assess and monitor damaged heritage, optimise the use of resources, and identify those sites that could be salvaged if remediation methods are allocated efficiently and in a timely manner. However, it is not possible to effectively conserve heritage caught in contemporary conflict without a sound understanding of the damage mechanisms, and their long-term consequences for site stability.

To address this issue, a Leverhulme-funded full studentship is offered at UWE Bristol which investigates the deterioration of stone after the impact of a ballistic (e.g. a bullet), The student will work with samples generated by ballistics tests at the Cranfield Ordnance Test & Evaluation Centre (COTEC) to quantify the influence material removal complex fracture network development and environmental stress on movement of moisture, soluble salts and subsequent stone deterioration. 3D scanning will be carried out at Manchester Metropolitan University to monitor internal deterioration of the stone in response to environmental testing.

The student will work as part of a team, together with the supervisors and a second studentship based at Cardiff University, to use this new insight to develop low-cost monitoring techniques for damaged heritage.

Funding details

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU tuition fee rate plus a maintenance allowance of £14,296 in 2017/18.

Eligibility criteria and Person specification

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £7,641 (full time) for the 2017/18 academic year.  As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

This is a three-year full-time commitment.  The project is ideal for a self-motivated and enthusiastic student with a good honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in physical geography or other relevant field, and evidence of further study at Masters level or equivalent in a relevant field. Ideally the candidate has a strong interest in heritage conservation and arid environments. Knowledge and experience of rock weathering processes and environmental parameters is essential, as well as experience in laboratory experiments

How to apply

Download and complete the Graduate School studentship application form and send it directly to the UWE Bristol Graduate School. Please ensure you include the title of the research project you propose to undertake, and detail why you are interested in undertaking this PhD project and what relevant knowledge, experience and qualifications you would bring to the research. Please see the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes for further information about how to complete the application form.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities monitoring form and complete the first section of the Graduate School application reference sheet before sending to your nominated referees.

Please email Dr Lisa Mol (lisa.mol@uwe.ac.uk) if you have any questions about this opportunity.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 25 April 2018. Interviews are scheduled for 14 May 2018.

If you have not heard from us by 30 April 2018 please assume that on this occasion you have not been successful.

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