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Our History

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in the University of Cambridge was established in 1990 through a generous benefaction from the late Dr D.M. McDonald. The benefaction enabled the University to construct and maintain purpose-built premises for the Institute which include research rooms and laboratories, together with archive space and a seminar room.


dm-mcdonaldDr Daniel McLean McDonald, born in Fort William, Scotland, in 1905, had degrees in Engineering (Glasgow) and Medicine (Birmingham). He was founder and Chairman of the BSR Group, manufacturers of record turntables and record changers. He died in his adoptive home, the Isle of Man, in February 1991.


The founding director of the Institute was Professor Colin Renfrew - Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, formerly Disney Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology.




Background to the McDonald Institute Triskeles

Dr McDonald's choice of emblem for the Institute was influenced by the symbol of the Isle of Man, his adopted home. The winged feet of the Triskeles are those of Hermes, and were taken from a fifth-century Syracusan coin.

Upcoming events

Marine Mammal Working Group (International Council for Archaeozoology)

Sep 20, 2019

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Upcoming events

An Oral History of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research