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Human Evolutionary Studies @ Cambridge

Research Assistant

Research Assistant/Research Associate in Individual-Based Modelling in Human Evolutionary Studies

Deadline for applications 12 March 2017   [more details]

The aim of this research is to is to develop a new approach, based on simulation models to strengthen inferences from prehistoric stone tool assemblages. The work of the Research Assistant will be to develop and test the simulation models.

Stone tool assemblages and the evolution of human behaviour

Stone tools are a central source of data for the study of human behaviour in the deep past. For every hominin fossil, there must be tens of thousands of stone tools (lithics) recorded. Much of what we know about human evolution thus comes from the recovery and analysis of lithic technology. Although there have been many recent advances in scientific approaches to the study of lithics, the analysis of the structure of lithic assemblages remains the primary source of information about past human behaviour. The project will use a modelling approach to simulate the formation and survival of stone tools. The primary aim is to create model assemblages under different conditions, and provide some expectations for actual assemblages, and so understand the conditions under which they were produced. The project will use individual-based modelling (IBM) to achieve this aim, and develop and validate the model as a  model as a 'proof of concept' pilot study. 

The successful candidate will have excellent knowledge and practical experience of programming, with demonstrable experience of developing individual or agent based models. In addition, s/he will contribute to research papers, write up findings and make contributions to written reports and grant applications. 

Candidates will have an honours degree and/or Master's degree in Biological, Archaeological or Computer Sciences, or a related, relevant subject. Knowledge of archaeology, lithic analysis, stone tools, or prehistory would be an advantage, but is not essential. 

This role is offered on a full-time, fixed-term basis for six months, although we also welcome applications from candidates who would prefer to work pro-rata on a part-time basis. 

[more details]           

Application details at

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be directed to Professor Robert Foley on
Queries about the application process should be directed to Helen Machin on










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