Ruairidh Macleod


Ruairidh (‘Rory’) Macleod is a graduate student in the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge, having previously graduated in the same department with a B.A. (1st class hons.), receiving the departmental prize for his degree in Biological Anthropology (dissertation supervised by Graeme Barker). He has also spent a year working as a research assistant at the Centre for Geogenetics in Copenhagen, in addition to research internships at the University of Cambridge (Jay Stock) and at the Evogenomics Section, University of Copenhagen (Matthew Collins).

Prior to university, Ruairidh was trained as a violinist at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, winning prizes for music such as the John Byrne award and studying fossil asaphid trilobites at the National Museum of Scotland in his spare time. He is also a keen caver and has led an expedition to discover new cave systems in the Austrian Alps, as well as excavating at UNESCO sites Trang An, Vietnam; Hohle Fels, Germany; and Atapuerca, Spain. Some of the prizes he was awarded during his B.A. include the Santander Scholarship Prize, Victoria Brahm Schild, David Thompson and Pollitzer student essay prize (AAPA).

He is currently also honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Genetics, Environment and Evolution, University College London.

Recent Publications

Macleod, R. et al. (forthcoming). Biomolecular Archaeology. In Scientific Methods and Cultural Heritage, Second Edition. ed. G. Artioli. Oxford University Press.

Macleod, R., 2020. Archaeological Sciences Introduction: Really Cool Stuff in the Future of Archaeological Sciences. In New Frontiers in Archaeology: Proceedings of the Cambridge Annual Student Archaeology Conference 2019, eds. K. Kaercher, M. Arntz, N. Bomentre, X. L. Hermoso-Buxán, K. Kay, S. Ki, R. Macleod, H. Muñoz-Mojado, L. Timbrell and I. Wisher. Archaeopress.

Macleod, R., Sinding, M.H.S., Olsen, M.T., Collins, M.J. and Rowland, S.J., 2020. DNA preserved in jetsam whale ambergris. Biology Letters, 16(2), p.20190819.

Moreau, L., Ciornei, A., Gjesfjeld, E., Filzmoser, P., Gibson, S.A., Day, J., Nigst, P.R., Noiret, P., Macleod, R.A., Niţă, L. and Anghelinu, M., (2019). First geochemical ‘fingerprinting’ of Balkan and Prut flint from Palaeolithic Romania: potentials, limitations and future directions. Archaeometry 61(3): 521-538.

Rabett, R., Coward. F., Holmes, R., Strantzali, I. B., Green E., Hill, E., Kahlert T., Kelly, C., McAllister, M., O’Donnell, S., Pyne-O’Donnell, S., Redmond A., Stimpson, C., Trung, N. D.,Van, T. T., Manh, B. V., Ludgate, N., Macleod, R. A., Utting, B. J., Tan, N. C., Hao, N. T., Huong, N. T. M., Loan N. T., Khanh, S. P., Trang, T. T. Q., Linh, V. D., Linh, V. T., Lien, V. T., Quy, T. T. K., Verhoeven, M. (2018). Human Adaptation to Coastal Evolution: Late Quaternary Evidence from Southeast Asia (Sundasia). Vietnam Archaeology 13: 23-49.


Ruairidh’s PhD project is Palaeo-omics of Mid-Holocene Humans at Lake Baikal Region, Siberia, supervised by Matthew Collins, Eske Willerslev, and Andrzej Weber (Baikal Archaeology Project PI) and funded by the Lundbeck Geogenetics Centre and the Baikal Archaeology Project. Ruairidh is broadly interested in the application of ‘omics’ sciences to the biomolecular past, though his current principal focus is palaeogenomics, having also worked on palaeoproteomics. He is very excited by the potential of novel applications in these fields, which forms the basis of his work with Matthew Collins. He is part of the Lundbeck Project investigating palaeogenomics of ancient populations to inform modern mental health research, and is also affiliated with Mark Thomas’ group at UCL, which studies statistical approaches to analysing genetic and cultural evolution. He is a member of several professional organisations, and has acted as a peer-reviewer for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.



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