Mr Gonzalo J. Linares Matás
BA (Oxon), MSt (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)
I was born and raised in Murcia, south-eastern Spain. I am joining the Emma community in Cambridge after nearly ten years at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, where I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees (with 1-year study stints at Exeter and Madrid), serving as a Stipendiary Lecturer there while finishing my doctorate in Archaeology. Archaeology offers an evidence-based mode of enquiry at the intersection of scientific and social disciplines, and has enabled me explore the social and ecological drivers of human behavioural diversity, aiming to understand our long-term evolutionary histories of adaptation, innovation, and resilience.
Beyond learning about the past, I enjoy making friends while trying to play football and I love the nurturing creative freedom that cooking offers. I like learning other languages (I want to be fluent in French, Italian and Arabic!) and listening to a wide range of music. I am also very fond of relaxing amidst lush green and well-watered landscapes, which offer a soothing contrast to the (equally beautiful) hot, arid places where I grew up and work.
A1 World Archaeology
My initial doctoral idea aimed to explore the interactions between hunter-gatherers and social carnivores in Eurasia, with a focus on early dog domestication. However, in the context of pandemic-related and other fieldwork restrictions, I eagerly embraced the affordances of remote sensing to document how prehistoric societies dealt with climate change and cultural interactions in the southern Sahara, by tracking changes in the nature and distribution of settlements and funerary monuments.
In addition to my doctoral research, I have been collaborating extensively with other researchers at Oxford, Cambridge, and Spain over the past few years on a range of fun and fascinating projects, including the effects of food-sharing, landscape familiarity and seasonality on behavioural variability and meta-population demography in early human evolution, the ways in which Palaeolithic sites are formed, and recent hunter-gatherer adaptations to circumpolar environments at both ends of the Americas.
At Emmanuel College, I want to take my research a step further and develop a transcontinental project looking at the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa and southwestern southern Africa. These regions—at the confluence of two different seas, with markedly seasonal rainfall patterns, similar temperature ranges, and an arid interior—share remarkable biogeographical affinities. Thus, they offer an unparalleled opportunity for a comparative assessment of human resilience, innovation, and risk-management through the study of hunter-gatherer technology, mobility, and subsistence strategies in the face of climate change and population pressures.
Recent publications include:
- Journal of Anthropological Sciences (JASs), September 2022: Seasonal resource categorisation and behavioral adaptation among chimpanzees: Implications for early hominin carnivory - PubMed (nih.gov)