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York academic elected British Academy Fellow

Posted on 17 July 2014

A University of York archaeologist has been elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the highest honour for scholars working in the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Matthew Collins, Professor of Biomolecular Archaeology and Director of BioArCh in the Department of Archaeology, is elected in recognition of his outstanding research.

Joining York in 2003 to establish BioArCh, an interdisciplinary grouping of biologists, archaeologists and chemists, his research focuses on the use of ancient proteins to solve archaeological questions.

Achieving breakthroughs in dating the British and European Quaternary period by analysing amino acids, the BioArCh team has also completed major research on dairying in North East Europe from the Chalcolithic to the Early Iron Age, and detected proteins in ancient fossils leading to the first successful sequencing of proteins from Neanderthals.

Professor Collins said: “I am variously shocked, humbled and delighted by have received this honour. Combined with the award of a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to Sarah Fiddyment earlier this year for a biomolecular study of manuscripts, I think that my election recognises the role that non-traditional research can play in the Humanities. There can be few research areas transforming as rapidly as Archaeology and I hope that I can help the Academy to champion it ever more widely.”

Lord Stern, President of the British Academy, said: “I am delighted to welcome these fine researchers and scholars into our Fellowship. Our Fellows are elected from across the UK for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. Together they represent an unrivalled reserve of expertise and knowledge. They play a vital role in the work of the Academy, encouraging younger researchers, engaging in public discussion of the great issues and ideas of our and other times, contributing to policy reports and publications, and helping to select researchers and research projects for funding support.”

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, composed of Fellows who are elected in recognition of their distinction as scholars. Professor Collins is one of 59 Fellows elected this year.

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