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Gates Cambridge Class of 2019 announced

last modified Apr 25, 2019 12:01 PM
Three archaeologists amongst the 2019 cohort for prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Ninety of the most academically outstanding and socially committed postgraduates have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.

The 90 scholars who make up the Class of 2019 are citizens of 37 different countries and this year 27 universities have produced their first Gates Cambridge Scholar.

The Department of Archaeology are excited to welcome three Scholars-elect as part of the new cohort. They are: 

Oliver Antczak  - PhD Archaeology, Downing College 


Being born in a turbulent Venezuela to a family of Polish immigrants, the intricacies of identity were an important topic of my everyday life. With parents and a brother all archaeologists, I grew up excavating every summer on the sunny islands of the Venezuelan Caribbean. For my undergraduate thesis at Leiden University College, I merged both these experiences working with the Guaiquerí indigenous group on Margarita island, Venezuela. There I attempted to understand how the Guaiquerí have maintained their strong identity though five centuries of colonialism. For my MPhil at the University of Cambridge, I decided to continue working on the topic with the Caquetío on Bonaire, who maintain a strong indigenous identity despite most locals believing they no longer exist. This work has made me realize that heritage management is not appropriately equipped to understand the resilience of indigenous identities in the Caribbean. For my PhD, I will work with more case-studies of indigenous identity in the Caribbean to deliver data on how identity and heritage are managed and maintained in these (post)colonial contexts. Misunderstood identity processes are an important part of many problems facing the region, including the current situation in Venezuela. I envision that my research can help both the communities I work with as well as academia and heritage institutions, leading to positive changes regionally, nationally and internationally.

Previous education

University of Cambridge 2018 Heritage and Museum Studies
Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (Leiden Univ) 2016 Human Interaction

Alette Blom, PhD Archaeology, Newnham College


I have always been mesmerized by the world around me and by how everything seems to fit so perfectly together. During high school I tried to combine as many different courses as I could - from biology to history and from arts to math – in order to try and understand all these connections. My teachers continuously tried to explain to me that those fields would never come together in my future. Close to the registration deadline for universities, however, I was introduced to archaeology and fell instantly in love. Studying archaeology has enabled me to learn a lot about subjects ranging from ecology to geology, from history to biomolecular sciences and from arts to evolutionary processes. After a BA in archaeology at Leiden University, I continued to do a Research Master in Bioarchaeology, focusing on human skeletal remains. I have found the field I belong in and that aims to understand how all sciences interplay with each other. I am therefore thrilled to be starting my PhD in archaeology, researching how leprosy sufferers in medieval England have experienced living with their disease, both socially and biologically. I will do so by taking a multidisciplinary approach combining archaeology, osteology, paleopathology, isotope research, biomolecular approaches and historical sources.

Previous education

Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (Leiden Univ) 2018 Human Osteoarchaeology
Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (Leiden Univ) 2016 Human Osteoarchaeology

Rodrigo Córdova Rosado, MPhil Archaeology, Sidney Sussex College



I grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, spending my weekends camping on mountaintops and coastlines, with my amazing parents, little brother, and friends, staring up at the starry night next to a warm fire. I always yearned to learn more about the night sky, a path that eventually led me to my undergraduate study of Astrophysics at Harvard University. I have researched several aspects of observational cosmology, the study and measurement of the earliest signals from the universe, and what they tell us about how the universe began, and its eventual fate. I have often partnered with several organizations to create outreach programs in which we teach young students, both in Boston and Puerto Rico, about the cosmic and human past, hoping to instill intellectual curiosity and empower them to pursue their passions. At the same time, I strove to understand humanity’s more immediate past by completing a secondary field in Archaeology, inspired by the questions I held concerning who had previously stared at the stars from those same coastlines in Puerto Rico. Embarking on an MPhil in Archeology of the Americas, with a focus on Archeoastronomy, I hope to illuminate the deep astronomical traditions of Ancient American peoples, and how these help inform our own conception of the universe, our history, and ourselves.

Previous education

Harvard University 2019 Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) Astrophysics - Physics




This story originally appeared as part of a larger announcement on the Gates Cambridge website

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