Michael Rivera

Favourite Thing: My favourite thing to do is to look at bones that are thousands of years old. By looking at them, I can find out A LOT of things about what people did a long time ago.



I went to University of Kent between 2009-2013, and have been at University of Cambridge since 2013.


I have two degrees – a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree!

Work History:

I have worked in universities, labs, schools, museums and science festivals.

Current Job:

I am trying to get a PhD degree so people will call me ‘Doctor’ in the future!


I work in a group of scientists, led by a man called Doctor Jay Stock.

About Me

I am a prehistoric archaeologist, which means I look at people who lived thousands of years ago!

I am from Hong Kong. When I was 18 years old, I moved to the UK to study science. In my spare time, I like eating and watching TV. I also enjoy parties and cooking for friends (I make really good spaghetti…).

Fun fact: I can name all 197 countries of the world!

One day, I hope to be a very old professor who teaches science. I want everyone to see how cool it is to study archaeology!

My Work

Classifying: Have you ever wondered what people did ten thousands years ago?? We can learn a lot from bones in archaeology!

I study archaeology. Archaeologists think about people who lived a long time ago and what people did in the past.

I look at bones that are really, really old (literally, thousands of years old!!). By looking at a pile of bones, I can tell you if they belonged to a man or a woman, or someone who was young or old. I could tell you what that person ate and if they were healthy or not. I could also name every single bone in the body (and there are 206 of them!)

My Typical Day

I read, write, teach and have chats with other archaeologists!

My day has a lot of reading, and talking to other archaeologists. We talk about how life today is different to life thousands of years ago.

I also teach classes to university students who are 18 to 21 years old. I help them to learn about bones and we have a lot of fun and interesting chats!

What I'd do with the money

I will teach pupils all around England about bones using a life-size skeleton!

I have always wanted to buy a good model of a human skeleton, and bring it around England to teach kids about bones!

I will definitely use the money to travel to many schools and show them what bones are for using the skeleton!


My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Funny, smart and friendly

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Just anything on the radio, right?

What's your favourite food?

Ribs, of course!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

I have taken primary school students to a real archaeological excavation – we found lots of cool stuff buried in the ground!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Bone scientist, funnily enough!

Were you ever in trouble at school?

I was very naughty – I would never be quiet in class and always tried to talk back to the teacher. As a teacher now, I feel sorry for the teachers at my old school!

What was your favourite subject at school?

Biology and History! Looking at really old bones is a nice mix of both!

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I was once given a box of about 500 bone fragments, and I had to take them out and sort through each and every one!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Unsurprisingly, a TV show called ‘Bones’

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A writer

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

A good job, a nice house, and a loving family. :)

Tell us a joke.

Why couldn’t the skeleton cross the road? Because he didn’t have the guts!

Other stuff

Work photos:

I get to read a lot of interesting books for my work:


The bones I study, we are able to study on the computer:


Here, I am teaching visiting students from China about animal and human bones:


This is a laboratory class I teach to university students:


Sometimes, classes take place in a big room and I talk to the class from the front of the room:


Besides my own work, I talk to my coworkers about their work too. Here we all are in a research meeting:


Here are my friends and I having a great time in Georgia, USA (I’m on the right!). We are at a conference, where 1400 scientists all met up to chat about bones and share ideas about work!