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Working in the Lab and Collaborations

Working in the Dorothy Garrod Laboratory

We welcome applications to join the laboratory from potential post-docs, visiting fellows and students, PhD and MPhil students. Please contact Dr Tamsin O’Connell for more information.

Potential applicants must get in contact with us to discuss suitable projects prior to the submission of any application.

Internal students (undergraduate and MPhil)

Students wishing to do a project for their dissertation or project should contact Dr Tamsin O'Connell. In the past students have done a wide variety of projects, including:

  • Did peasants' lives improve in fourteenth-century Cambridge?
  • How well were Mediaeval lepers fed?
  • Were Irish bears grizzly or brown at the beginning of the Holocene?
  • Seasonality of prehistoric shellfish collection in Scotland
  • Infant feeding practices in Imperial Roman Italy
  • Diet and origins of the first colonisers of Cape Verde
  • Climate records in herbivore teeth
  • A dog's life in Mesolithic Iron Gates


MPhil/PhD students

Students wishing to join the group for a PhD or MPhil can apply to various sources of funds:

Archaeological Science Module

  • Project-specific funded PhD positions, when available, are advertised on the department web page.
  • UK and EU students can apply for independent UK research council funding. Competitions for these funds are run through the departments. For further information read the graduate prospectus.
  • The Cambridge Trusts (comprising the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and the Cambridge Overseas Trust) offer scholarships and part-cost bursaries to students from overseas and the European Union
  • The University offers funding through a number of schemes. See university funding.
  • Many colleges offer scholarships and bursaries, and summary details can be found in the college entries.

Do pay attention to funding deadlines, as these may be considerably earlier than deadlines for your application to study. Students can apply for funding before securing an offer of study and indeed most students apply for admission and apply for funding concurrently. Extensive further information can be found in the graduate prospectus.

Potential research students should note that laboratory-based projects involving isotopic analyses generally require research funds of several thousands of pounds, in addition to fees and maintenance. This should be discussed with Dr Tamsin O’Connell.


DG SkullPost-Doctoral Positions

When funded post-doc positions are available, they are usually linked to specific projects and are advertised on the department web page. Post docs wishing to join the group can apply for independent funding though one of the following routes:

This is not an exhaustive list and if you are interested in such a position, you should investigate other possible sources of funding.


Visiting researchers / students

We welcome academic visitors to the group for periods of up to a year, but cannot provide funding (travel, maintenance or research expenses) to cover their visits. The McDonald Institute charges visitors to the laboratory a small termly bench fee to cover the use of its facilities. Visiting students staying longer than 6 months may be required to pay university fees. Please contact the Department’s Graduate Adminstrator or consult the pages with Visiting Students for details.


Collaborations (Internal and External)


We welcome academic collaborations with other individuals and external institutions, and undertake semi-commercial work on a project-by-project basis. For more information or to discuss this further please contact .

For typical analyses of common sample materials, we require:

Material Sample size
Bone, antler and tooth collagen   0.5-1.0g of dry bone
Tooth enamel (carbonate) 7-10mg of powdered enamel
Tooth enamel (phosphate) 1mg of powdered enamel
Hair keratin 0.5-1.0cm of hair
Shell carbonate 0.1mg
Plants 1-10mg







For information about analysing other material types (e.g. blood, faeces, etc.), please contact .