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McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

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McDonald Institute

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research serves as an interdisciplinary hub aiming to provide a shared intellectual home for archaeologists at Cambridge with a programme of seminars, workshops, conferences, publications and research grants as well as laboratory space for a wide range of archaeological research which crosses continents, periods and approaches in its exploration of the diversity of the human past.


Division of Archaeology

The Division of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for the study of the human past across the globe, from the Palaeolithic to the present.

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Niah Caves Project Now Published

The cathedral-like Niah Caves of Sarawak (Borneo) have iconic status in the archaeology of Southeast Asia, because the excavations by Tom and Barbara Harrisson in the 1950s and 1960s revealed the longest sequence of human occupation in the region, from (we now know) 50,000 years ago to the recent past. This newest book in the McDonald Monographs Series presents the results of new multi-disciplinary work in the caves and provides exciting new insights into the prehistory of the region.

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New Book

"Spong Hill, part IX" by Catherine Hills and Sam Lucy is now published as part of the McDonald Institute Monographs Series. This volume presents the long-awaited chronology and synthesis of the site and gives a detailed overview of the artefactual evidence, which includes over 1200 objects of bone, antler and ivory.

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Lobby and Seminar Room Renovation Now Complete

Building work on the Institute’s lobby and seminar room, which began in earnest at the beginning of June, is now complete. The internal walls have been demolished to make way for a new state-of-the-art soundproof, removable wall for the seminar room. New lighting and media systems have been installed as well as a custom-built receptionist’s desk, book-display unit and kitchen facilities. The bright, new open space will be a wonderful place to work, learn and socialise.

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Clay tokens used for 'book-keeping' long after invention of writing

Jul 21, 2014

Latest excavations led by McDonald Institute researcher John MacGinnes, show prehistoric clay tokens remained integral to recording trade across the Assyrian Empire - millenia after this system was belived to have vanished.

Tràng An Landscape Complex Designated World Heritage Site

Jul 14, 2014

McDonald Institute-based Tràng An Archaeological Project played prominant part in successful World Heritage Site nomination.

Golson Lecture 2014

Jun 13, 2014

'Why Did Our Ancestors Become Farmers?' Golson Lecture

Thurstan Shaw Memorial Celebrations May 2014

Jun 06, 2014

Largest ever gathering of West African representatives in Cambridge celebrates the life of the late Professor Thurstan Shaw

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Upcoming events

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Tea and Talk

Aug 02, 2014

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Tea and Talk

Sep 06, 2014

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Upcoming events