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Department of Archaeology



I earned my PhD from the University of Cambridge, where I developed novel approaches to dental phenotype classification and analysis for quantifying and classifying human population structures. Following my PhD, I completed a joint postdoctoral fellowship at The Alan Turing Institute and the University of Cambridge as part of Professor Robert Foley’s Palaeoanalytics project, where I developed machine learning and computer vision software for the classification and quantification lithic technologies. I have also served as Associate Editor of PLOS ONE where I helped launch PLOS’ policies on inclusion in global research, and as Senior Data Scientist at Digital Science’s Dimensions database — the world's most advanced academic database. 


Broadly speaking, my research interests are in Lower Palaeolithic tool technologies, the evolutionary origins of modern human and their diversity, and the application of novel computational methods to human evolutionary studies.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Gellis JJ and Foley RA, 2023 Hominin Evolution. Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Sciences. DOI:10.1002/9781119592112

Gellis JJ, Rangel-Smith C, and Foley RA, 2022 PyLithics – An open-source software package for lithic analysis. Journal of Open Source Software, 7 (69)

Gellis JJ, Rangel-Smith C, and Foley RA, 2022 PyLithics – An open source software package for lithic analysis (v1.0.0). Zenodo.

Gellis JJ and Foley RA, 2021 (Journal of Anatomy) Patterns of variation in canal and root number in human post-canine teeth. doi: 

Gellis JJ and Foley RA, 2021 A novel system for determining tooth-root phenotypes. PLOS ONE, 16 (11)

Teaching and Supervisions


Previous teaching experience:
•    Humans in a Biological Perspective (B1), 
•    Human Evolution (and Palaeolithic Archaeology (B3/G03) 
•    Major Topics in Human Evolution (B5) 

Other Professional Activities

University of Cambridge Data Champion

Job Titles

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Human Population Biology and Health
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Artefact Analysis & Technology

Contact Details

The Henry Wellcome Building University of Cambridge Fitzwilliam Street Cambridge CB2 1QH
jg760 [at]


Person keywords: 
Hominin evolution
Lithic analysis
Machine learning
Phenotypic diversity
Biological Anthropology
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Historical
Other Late Prehistory
Other Prehistory