Mr Dylan Gaffney (2017)
I grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand, and completed a BA at the University of Otago in Classical Studies and Anthropology. During this time, I developed a passion for archaeology— the famous discoveries at Troy in the Hellespont, the ancient civilisation at Angkor in Southeast Asia, and the remarkable voyages of island navigators into the Pacific thousands of years ago. Following this passion, I undertook my first overseas fieldwork around Madang, northeast New Guinea in 2014. This formed the basis of my MA, which examined archaeological and modern potting traditions in the area. Since then, I have returned to New Guinea each year, working with communities to follow up research in Madang, and also venture into the highland interior to survey and excavate. Over the past year, I have been working as Research Coordinator at Southern Pacific Archaeological Research, a research unit at Otago. I have been fortunate to have the support from teachers and colleagues at Otago, which has pushed me to undertake critical, novel, and socially responsible research. My Cambridge research will move west, focussing on Indonesia, where I hope to examine some of the earliest dispersals of modern humans into the region. Understanding this deep history has massive implications for the social/life sciences generally. I am excited and humbled to be selected as a 2017 Gates Scholar, and hope to produce quality academic research, which is also accessible and appealing to local communities and the public.