Funded DPhil position on the Horse Power project - apply now!

Horse Power will examine the complex interactions between the eastern steppe and China from the second millennium BCE to the formation of the Xiongnu empire in Mongolia and the Qin state in China after 300 BCE. To examine the connections between the steppe, Mongolia and China’s Central Plains we will combine the latest scientific techniques in genetics and metallurgical analysis with theory concerning politics and power within and between China and its northern neighbours. Three principal empirical elements underpin the project: ancient DNA from horses; the characterization of bronzes to throw light on their movement and recycling; the structure and contents of archaeological sites (mainly graves) in China, Mongolia and the steppe.

The doctoral student will examine the technology of chariots and horse gear in China from the Shang to the Qin from a metallurgical and typological perspective. The student should have a background in the relevant archaeology of China and the steppe. They should possess some knowledge of Chinese and have a background in archaeological science and an understanding of the formal qualities of objects. They will be supervised by Professor Chris Gosden, School of Archaeology, Oxford and Dr Ruiliang Liu, of the Asia Department of the British Museum.

This scholarship will fund £30,000 per annum towards the cost of your tuition fees, college fees and living expenses for three years and will be tenable at Keble College.

You will need to apply for both the programme and this studentship via the main University online graduate application form, and pay an application fee of £75. To access the application form and application guide please visit our website at

To be considered for this studentship, please submit an application to the DPhil in Archaeology (full-time) offered by the School of Archaeology. On the application form, in the section headed ‘Departmental Studentship Applications’, you must indicate that you are applying for a studentship and enter the reference code for this studentship "23ARCH01WEB". 

Applications will be considered as and when they are received and this position will be filled as soon as possible. The course will close on a Friday at a week’s notice. Please check our course page for up-to-date information on the closure date. The application form, all supporting materials required for the programme (including references) and payment must be submitted by that deadline.