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Job Record #17169
TitleIndoor air quality in prehistoric dwelling based on CFD
CategoryPostDoc Position
LocationSpain, Tarragona
InternationalYes, international applications are welcome
Closure Date* None *
RESEARCH FIELD:  Engineering and Archaeology
RESEARCHER PROFILE: Established Researcher (R3)/ Recognised Researcher (R2)
LOCATION: Spain › Tarragona
JOB STATUS: Full-time
EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME: Horizon Europe / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
TITLE OF THE CALL: Indoor air quality in prehistoric dwelling based on 
computational fluid dynamics simulations

Ethel Allué (Researcher at IPHES-CERCA, Tarragona, Spain), is interested in 
recieving expressions of interest from excellent postdoctoral researchers to 
jointly apply to the European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral 
Fellowship (MSCA-PF) 2021 call. We seek a postdoctoral researcher with 
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) background to study indoor air quality in the 
past and its consequences on human health and daily life. This project will be 
developed in coordination between the Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social 
Evolution (IPHES-CERCA) ( and the research group 
Experimentation, Computation and Modelization in Fluid Mechanics and Turbulence 
( of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of 
Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Selected candidate will receive dedicated support 
from both institutions to write a successful proposal.

The aim of this research project is to study indoor air quality in Prehistoric 
buildings and spaces. Dwellings in the past evolved from caves, rock-shelters and 
simple huts to clay-brick and stone buildings along prehistory and early 
historical periods. Living spaces morphology changed and adapted according to 
past socioeconomic development and influenced by climatic conditions along 
different periods (Boric 2008). The structure and building materials of different 
kinds were relied on the availability of raw materials in each region and on the 
technological improvements on architecture. These aspects have revealed different 
house types, from round to rectangular shapes, in different socioeconomic groups 
from hunting-gathering societies to farmers, herders and complex societies. 
Ancient dwellings were the spaces in which fire, as the unique energy source, was 
the central place involved in multiple daily activities and technological 
processes (heating, transforming food and other materials, lighting, etc.). Fire 
was fuelled with different biofuels being wood the most ubiquitous among others, 
such as dung, grease/fat or agricultural by-products.

According to present studies, the use of biofuels causes major adverse effects on 
indoor air quality. Smoke emissions, including gas and volatile particle 
compounds, have strong recognized harmful effects on human health, especially on 
female and children. Female are usually in charge of domestic firewood uses along 
their lives, including pregnancy and child caring, causing different kinds of 
diseases and long-term health issues (respiratory diseases, lung cancer, child 
mortality, etc.) (Bede-Ojimadu & Orisakwe 2020). These questions have been poorly 
and fragmentarily approached in archaeological contexts due to the lack of direct 
evidence, basing the very few studies available only on human palaeopathologies 
and fuel analysis (Merrett & Pfeiffer 2000; Shillito et al. 2021).  

The use of CFD has become in the last decades an essential tool for the design 
and analysis of the indoor environment and safety of buildings including fluid 
motion in heritage contexts (Grau-Bové et al. 2019). The focus has been on 
predicting the flow and the spatial and temporal distribution of pollutants in a 
wide range of different situations, such as residential, industrial, commercial 
and clinical spaces, in museums and heritage sites, in concert halls and 
theatres, and in buses, trains, airplanes and ships, among others. In these 
cases, the flow is produced by mechanical and/or natural ventilation and the 
emission and subsequent turbulent dispersion of the pollutant is usually linked 
to temperature and humidity distributions and the possible chemical reactions. 
This complex physical scenario, together with the relatively large length scales 
involved and hence Reynolds numbers, make experimental replication and prediction 
very challenging while the use of computational model is a good alternative 
although proper validation of the model is required to show the prediction 
accuracy in similar situations.

This project will develop aground-breaking methodological approach to these 
issues throughout the following Research Objectives: 

RO1. Identify and reconstruct three-dimensional prehistoric dwelling geometries 
and formulate archaeological driven hypothesis 
RO2. To analyze fuel emissions according to different potential fuel types (wood, 
dung, agriculture by-products [cereal husk, straw]). 
RO3. To model combustion emissions (micro particles, combustion gases) and their 
dispersion in different type of houses using CFD in order to develop predicting 
models of smoke/fluid dynamics for different type of buildings.
RO4. To validate the CFD predictions by simulating similar scenarios and 
comparing with measurements and/or visualizations. 
RO5. To analyze the effects of indoor air quality on past human individuals based 
on the predictions of validated numerical simulations.

Bede-Ojimadu, O., Orisakwe, O. E. (2020). Exposure to wood smoke and associated 
health effects in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. Annals of global 
health, 86(1).

Boric, D. (2008). First households and ‘house societies’ in European prehistory. 
Prehistoric Europe: theory and practice, 109-42.

Grau-Bové, J., et al. (2019) Fluid simulations in heritage science. Heritage 
Science 7.1,  1-12.

Merrett, D. C., & Pfeiffer, S. (2000). Maxillary sinusitis as an indicator of 
respiratory health in past populations. American Journal of Physical 
Anthropology: The Official Publication of the American Association of Physical 
Anthropologists, 111(3), 301-318.

Shillito, L. M., et al. (2021). Analysis of fine particulates from fuel burning 
in a reconstructed building at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey and implications for 
respiratory health in early settled communities.

Pagliaro, Francesca, et al. (2016) "CFD analysis for the validation of 
archaeological hypotheses–The indoor microclimate of ancient storage-rooms." 
Journal of Archaeological Science 73 ), 107-119.

We are looking for talented and innovative young scientists, strongly committed 
to high quality frontier research and able to add new insights to the existing 
URV core expertise. Only candidates with an outstanding record of research 
achievements and publications in top-quality journals will be considered.
URV and IPHES-CERCA as Hosting Institution located at Scientific Campus of 
Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spainhave all the technical and 
scientific facilities to  carry out this project 
Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) is well positioned both nationally and 
internationally due to the Excellence of its research and the commitment and 
internationally recognised staff. URV is made up of 12 Faculties and Schools, 
with 24 Departments, which welcome annually 11.400 undergraduate, 1.500 master 
and 1.200 PhD students (20% of them full time employees). In 2019, it was named 
World’s 78th Best Young University aged less than 50 years and 401-500 Best 
University in the World (by Times Higher Education World University Rankings), 
and 501-600 by Academic Ranking of world Universities. Being the within the top 
10% universities in number and impact of its publications is a clear measure of 
the quality of the research we can offer to the future MSCA-IF fellows.
Testament to the quality of its research is the fact that URV is host for around 
100 MSCA fellows, in different programmes (COFUND, ITN, IF), displaying a strong 
bond to the principles of the MSCA programme.

At the deadline for the submission of the proposals (15/09/2021), researchers:
-	Shall be in possession of a doctoral degree;
-	Must have a maximum of 8 years full-time equivalent experience in 
research, from the date of the doctoral degree;
-	Must not have resided or carried out their main activities in Spain for 
more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the above mentioned 
-	Must be fluent in English (both written and spoken).

Researchers willing to apply should check that they fulfil the eligibility 
criteria and then send an expression of interest, consisting of:
●	A Curriculum Vitae 
●	A summary presentation of their research proposal / A motivation letter 
Expressions of interest must be submitted to  (Title of the e-mail 
“URV- MSCA - PF - Prof. Ethel Allué”).
Proposals will be pre-selected on the basis of internal evaluation. Candidates 
will be informed of the results of the pre-selection a week after the deadline.
WEB of the research group: and

Contact Information:
Please mention the CFD Jobs Database, record #17169 when responding to this ad.
NamePre-award office URV
Email ApplicationYes
Record Data:
Last Modified16:21:09, Tuesday, June 01, 2021

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