Physical Geography: Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: Stable isotope dating of historic buildings across Wales

Closing date: 26 October 2018

Key Information

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*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

MSc by Research for UK or EU applicants in the field of: Physical Geography/Science-based Archaeology

Start date: January 2019

The principal method for determining the age of historic buildings and wooden artefacts in the UK is dendrochronology (tree-ring dating). Across Wales however, conventional dendrochronology often fails to yield a robust date owing to the presence of complacent ring width sequences or the use of short-lived or fast-growing timbers in construction. As a result, it is impossible to assign a precise calendar age to structures of high historic or cultural importance.

This project will aim to assess the suitability of a new precision dating technique developed by the Swansea team to provide calendar dates for houses, living trees and timbers sourced from across Wales. This will help to ascertain the geographic and practical limits of the stable oxygen isotope method for the dating of historic timbers.

This project will provide important proof of concept for dating houses in this region and will also inform decision-making in the listing, management and preservation process.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 30 credit award.

*Welsh text will be available soon.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree in archaeological science, physical geography, a related subject or significant related experience in historic buildings research and/or dendrochronology.

They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees (see for more information).

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –

For more information on eligibility criteria please refer to section C of the  KESS II Participant Proposal Form 2018-19

Any queries relating to Section C – Eligibility, please contact


The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,586 p.a. dependent upon the applicant’s financial circumstances assessed in section C point 4 in the  KESS II Participant Proposal Form 2018-19

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

How to Apply

Applicants are advised to contact Professor Neil Loader or Professor Danny McCarroll regarding information on the project area of research, via email ( or the project website

To apply:

1. Complete the  KESS II Participant Proposal Form 2018-19

2. Complete the KESS II Supplementary Form 2017-18   

3. You will also need to provide copies of the following documentation:

  • Degree certificates
  • References
  • CV
  • English Language certificate (if required)
  • All supporting documentation as detailed in Section C of the  KESS II Participant Proposal Form 2018-19

    Please return both application forms and supporting documentation to the KESS Office at the address stated on the KESS II Participant Proposal Form (original ink signatures only).

    For any queries please contact

    The deadline for applications is 4pm 26 October 2018.