Xavier Rubio-Campillo 

I am a Ramón y Cajal senior research fellow at the University of Barcelona. My main task in this position is to explore and teach new digital approaches to understand and communicate dynamics of past human activity.

  • Contact details

Universitat de Barcelona. Campus Mundet, Llevant, despatx 125, Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171. 08035 Barcelona. xrubio@ub.edu

You can also contact me in ORCID, github, twitter and google scholar.

  • Bio

My original background is a bachelor degree in Computer Science in Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2003), where I graduated with the first rank of my promotion. I did my PhD in Heritage studies in Universitat de Barcelona (2009)

Before joining DIDPATRI I held a lecturership in Computational Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh (2016-2020) and Team Leader of the Humanities research group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (2009-2016). In these positions I participated in several interdisciplinary projects applying computational methods to improve our understanding of the past, such as Consolider SimulPast and ERC Advanced Grant EPNet.

This transdisciplinary experience helps me to stablish links between Humanities and Computer Science, with the aim of exploring how computational research methods can foster a critical perspective about the past and its impact on current society.

  • My research

My current research is focused on three linked goals: a) to develop innovative digital methods to understand the complex relation between environment and past societies, b) to improve how conflict heritage is interpreted and c) to promote reflexive approaches to the human past through digital education techniques. I investigate these themes by applying innovative quantitative frameworks to a variety of topics such as the neolithic transition, the evolution of warfare or settlement dynamics.

I am also engaged on the development of new digital tools for the Humanities. My contributions include the development of Pandora: an Agent-Based Modelling framework for High-Performance Computing or HisTeNa (Historical Text Navigation), a framework to annotate, georeference and analyze large corpus of historical sources.


  • Digital Humanities
  • Computational Archaeology
  • Game-Based Learning
  • Conflict Archaeology
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Socioecological dynamics
  • Spatial Analysis

  • Key Publications

  1. Book Chapter: Rubio-Campillo, X., 2020. Gameplay as Learning: The Use of Game Design to Explain Human Evolution, in: Hageneuer, S. (Ed.), Communicating the Past in the Digital Age. Ubiquity Press, pp. 45–58. ISBN: 978-1-911529-84-2
  2. Journal Article: Hernández-Cardona, F.X., Rubio-Campillo, X., Besolí, A., Íñiguez, D., Sospedra, R., 2019. Forgotten Pilots, Airfields and Aircraft: A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Memory of the Republican Air Force During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). Public Archaeology 18, 3–27.
  3. Journal Article: Rubio-Campillo, X., Montanier, J.-M., Rull, G., Bermúdez Lorenzo, J.M., Moros Díaz, J., Pérez González, J., Remesal Rodríguez, J., 2018. The ecology of Roman trade. Reconstructing provincial connectivity with similarity measures. Journal of Archaeological Science 92, 37–47.
  4. Journal Article: Rubio-Campillo, X., Coto-Sarmiento, M., Pérez, J., Remesal, J., 2017. Bayesian analysis and free market trade within the Roman Empire. Antiquity 91, 1241–1252.
  5. Book Chapter: Rubio-Campillo, X., Caro Saiz, J., H. Pongiluppi, G., Laborda Cabo, G., Ramos Garcia, D., 2017. Explaining archaeological research with videogames: The case of Evolving Planet, in: Mol, A., Ariese, C., Boom, K., Politopoulos, A. (Eds.), The Interactive Past: A Book on Video Games and Archaeology. Sidestone Press, pp. 153–166. ISBN: 9789088904370
  6. Journal Article: Rubio-Campillo, X., 2016. Model Selection in Historical Research Using Approximate Bayesian Computation. PLOS ONE 11, e0146491.
  7. Journal Article: Reyes-García, V., Balbo, A.L., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Rubio-Campillo, X., …, Shennan, S., 2016. Multilevel processes and cultural adaptation: examples from past and present small-scale societies. Ecology & Society 21, art2.
  8. Journal Article: Rubio-Campillo, X., Hernàndez, F.X., 2015. Combined Arms Warfare in the Spanish Civil War: The Assault on the Republican Defence Line at Fatarella Ridge. Journal of Conflict Archaeology 10, 52–69.
  9. Journal Article: Reyes-García, Victoria, Andrea L. Balbo, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Maximilien Gueze, Alex

    Mesoudi, Peter J. Richerson, Xavier Rubio-Campillo, Isabel Ruiz-Mallén, and Stephen Shennan. 2016. “Multilevel Processes and Cultural Adaptation: Examples from Past and Present Small-Scale Societies.” Ecology and Society 21 (4): art2.

  10. Journal Article: Rubio-Campillo, X., Cela, J.M., Hernàndez Cardona, F.X., 2012. Simulating archaeologists? Using agent-based modelling to improve battlefield excavations. Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 347–356.


  • Teaching and supervisions

I am looking for excellent postgraduate students interested on developing a PhD on topics related to my research topics, so if this is your case then don’t hesitate to contact me.

I have previously delivered a diversity of undergraduate and postgraduate courses on computational approaches to the past such as Geographical Information Systems, Quantitative Methods and Data Science; I was also the co-director of the MSc in GIS & Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

I am currently the coordinator of a postgraduate course on Digital Heritage at the MSc on Cultural Heritage (University of Barcelona).


I am currently supervising the following PhD students:

  • Junaid Ahmad. Recent Archaeological Exploration of the Upper Kaghan Valley, Mansehra, Pakistan (co-supervisor)
  • Leo Sucharyna Thomas. To what extent does advanced computational modelling assist the understanding and prediction of Mesolithic site distribution and mobility? (co-supervisor)
  • James Page. ‘Carrying up it all the Products of the Sea’: Mapping Trade in the Po Basin, 42 BC – AD 284 (2ndsupervisor)
  • Andrew McLean. Specialised oil and wine production and exchange in the Adriatic: a proxy for ancient market integration (2nd supervisor)
  • Roxanne Guilford. The Pastoral Landscape: an interdisciplinary review of faunal assemblages in the British Late Bronze Age (2nd supervisor)
  • Stefano Bordoni. Medieval Masonry Techniques in the Apennine Region (2nd supervisor).

In addition, in the recent past I have also supervised 5 PhD and 12 MSc dissertations both in Barcelona and Edinburgh

  • Prizes & Additional merits

  • Honorary fellow at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. University of Edinburgh.
  • 2010 VIIth Josep Barberà award of the Catalan Society of Archaeology for the work “Geographical Models, GIS and archaeology. The case study of prehistoric settlements in the river Ripoll”.
  • Peer-reviews for Anthropological & Archaeological Science, Applied Spatial Analysis & Policy, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, PLOS One, Journal of Archaeological Science, Quaternary International, Trabajos de Prehistoria, Munibe Antropologia-Arkeologia, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the FWO Review College (Belgium) or the Agencia Estatal de Investigación (Spain)
  • Other activities

  • I am the founder and director of Murphy’s Toast Games, an independent game development studio that creates transformative gaming experiences to foster curiosity about past societies and to promote scientific thinking. We have already published 2 games: Evolving Planet and Ancestors: Stories of Atapuerca.