Ryan Rabett


  • Room 01.045 - 42 Fitzwilliam Street

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Southeast Asia (Upper Pleistocene to Mid-Holocene)

Palaeolithic archaeology (Asia, North Africa, North America, Europe)

Human colonization & adaptation


Human evolution

UNESCO World Heritage


My research explores the process of hominin adaptation and dispersal into different Late Quaternary environments. My research goals are two-fold: firstly, to better understand these localised trajectories of early human behaviour; but also, secondly, to find ways of melding principles of Pleistocene adaptation (often forged under capricious conditions) into contemporary economic models and responses. The ultimate aim being: to enhance modern adaptive capacities to abrupt shifts in environment as much as to better understand the ways our ancestors responded in the past. With these ambitions, as a Palaeolithic archaeologist and zooarchaeologist, I’m currently leading (PI) research projects in three regions of the world: Southeast Asia, North America and the Mediterranean. 


Senior Lecturer in Human Palaeoecology

I am currently on extended Research Leave, but am still supervising new undergradauate and post graduate students.



Module Co-ordinator (2016-17)

GAP1001 Ancient Humans & Landscapes

GAP3082 Palaeolithic Pioneers: Adaptation & Colonization in Global Perspective

Contributions to:

GAP3072 Human Evolution

GAP1013 Introduction to World Archaeology


Module Co-ordinator (2015-16)

GAP3082 Palaeolithic Pioneers: Adaptation & Colonization in Global Perspective

Contributions to:

GAP3072 Human Evolution

GAP1013 Introduction to World Archaeology



UNESCO World Heritage:

During 2012-14 I was part of the executive committee responsible for preparing the Vietnamese State Party’s nomination dossier for the Tràng An Landscape Complex; a nomination that was ultimately inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a mixed property (cultural and natural) in June 2014 – http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1438/



Since 2014, I have also become actively involved with the UNESCO Human Evolution: adaptions, dispersals and social developments (HEADS) thematic programme, which is seeking greater representation and conservation of properties on the World Heritage List relating to human evolution and its relevance to us today.

Research Statement

Current research projects (see Activities):

2016-2019      SUNDASIA: Human Adaptation to Coastal Evolution: Late Quaternary evidence from Southeast Asia (Ninh Binh province, Vietnam)

Funding: AHRC AH/N005902/1 / Xuan Truong Enterprise. Project website: https://sundasia.com/


2007-2014       Tràng An Archaeological Project (Ninh Binh province, Vietnam); 

2011-2015       Northeast Algonquin Palaeo-Lake Environmental Assessment (Ontario, Canada);  

2013-               Pleistocene Kefalonia Project (Ionian Islands, Greece)

Current collaborative research:

2008-               The Cyrenaica Prehistory Project, Libya (zooarchaeologist) http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/haua-fteah-project

Past research:

2011                Living on the Edge: archaeological survey of shell middens on five islands in Sligo Bay, Ireland (zooarchaeologist) – Queen’s University, Belfast;

2010                Callao Cave project, Philippines (zooarchaeologist) – University of the Philippines;

2006-08           Regionalism in the Development of Modern Human Behaviour (PI) – University of Cambridge;

2003-05           The Niah Caves Project, Borneo (zooarchaeologist) – University of Leicester and University of Cambridge



Professional affiliations:    

Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (http://ippa.weblogs.anu.edu.au/)

Canadian Archaeological Association (https://canadianarchaeology.com/)

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London UK (http://www.rgs.org/HomePage.htm)

International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) (http://www.icomos.org/en/)

UNESCO Human Evolution: adaptions, dispersals and social developments (HEADS) (http://whc.unesco.org/en/heads/)

Past Global Changes (PAGES) network (http://www.rgs.org/HomePage.htm)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Ryan Rabett is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 1 Similar Profiles
funding Social Sciences
Pleistocene Earth & Environmental Sciences
prehistory Social Sciences
Southeast Asia Social Sciences
occupation Earth & Environmental Sciences
cave Earth & Environmental Sciences
Vietnam Social Sciences
bone Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2018

Research Output 2002 2019

An 11 000-year-old giant muntjac subfossil from Northern Vietnam: implications for past and present populations

Stimpson, C. M., Utting, B., O'Donnell, S., Huong, N. T. M., Kahlert, T., Manh, B. V., Khanh, P. S. & Rabett, R. J., 13 Mar 2019, In : Royal Society Open Science. 6, 3, 18 p., 181461.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
endangered species
11 Citations (Scopus)

The success of failed Homo sapiens dispersals out of Africa and into Asia

Rabett, R. J., 18 Jan 2018, In : Nature: Ecology and Evolution. 2, p. 212-219 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
marine isotope stage

The Early Human Occupation of East and Southeast Asia

Rabett, R., Dec 2017, Handbook of East and Southeast Asian Archaeology. Habu, J., Lape, P. & Olsen, J. (eds.). New York: Springer, p. 159-193

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

habitat fragmentation
7 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
last glaciation
environmental change


ASEASUK Research Committee on Southeast Asian Studies: £3690

Ryan Rabett (Recipient), 2008

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


British Academy Committee on Southeast Asian Studies: £2500

Ryan Rabett (Recipient), 2002

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


D.M. McDonald Grants and Awards Fund: £35,193

Ryan Rabett (Recipient), 2007

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Evans Fund Award: £8000

Ryan Rabett (Recipient), 2002

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

environmental assessment
glacial lake
environmental conditions

Activities 2014 2018

  • 5 PhD external examination