Tianrui Zhu

Second Year

Rui is interested in the political economy of the ancient Eurasian Steppes and peripheries, with a focus on elite networks, resources management, and prestige goods production and circulation. She participates in fieldwork in Central Asia and practices multiple subfields of archaeological sciences, including proteomics, archaeomaterials, and digital numismatics.

She earned her bachelor's degree in History from Yale-NUS College in Singapore (2018-2022), with a minor in computational and statistical sciences. Her honors thesis compares the prestige goods exchange between the Greeks and Scythians in the northern Black Sea region and between the Qin 秦 and Rong戎 in Northwest China in the 4th century BCE, which was awarded the best History capstone prize.

She has a Master of Arts from Harvard University where she did the Regional Studies-East Asia program as a Harvard-Yenching scholar (2022-2023). Her master's thesis, titled "the origin of glass-making technology in China, 1st Millennium BCE", explores the transmission and evolution of glassmaking in Inner and East Asia through a statistical analysis of the composition data of ancient glass.

Apart from archaeomaterials, she is also interested in other subfields of archaeological sciences. She has provided technical expertise to a Roman numismatics project that employs Machine Learning to perform rapid large-scale die analysis and uses Bayesian statistics to estimate the Roman mint output under Nero. She is currently involved in a proteomics project at the Warinner Lab at Harvard University, where she works on the species identification of silkworms through protein mass spectrometry.

Her experience with various schools of archaeology across the world has also led to her interest in the theories and practice of archaeology and the history of the discipline. She has an upcoming contribution to the Handbook on the History and Practice of Chinese Archaeology that discusses the emergence of the conventional archaeological site report format in the People's Republic of China.