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Dr Julia Shaw
UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
Dr Julia Shaw profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
  • Institute of Archaeology
  • Faculty of S&HS

BA, MPhil, PhD
Associate Professor in South Asian Archaeology
Departmental Academic Writing Tutor
Chair of Departmental Sub-Committee for Academic Writing
Chair of Departmental Ethics Committee
Departmental Equal Opportunity Liaison Officer (DEOLO)

UCL network membership

 External affiliations

  • McDonald Institute For Archaeological Research, Cambridge. Research Fellow since 2015; Visiting Scholar 2012-15.
  • Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society (LMU Munich, Germany). 2014-15.

Editorial Board Membership

Research Summary

Current research focuses on interfaces between archaeology, ecological public health, & global climate-change activism including the history & archaeology of environmental ethics & attitudes, & the deep-time mindsets towards 'nature' that sustain both healthy & unhealthy human-animal environmental interactions in the past-present-future. Current book projects include an Archaeology of Buddhism that draws on over 10 years of research-led teaching on the MA module of the same name, & an archaeological study of religion and 'nature' in South Asia.  

Research interests:

  • Archaeology & art of South Asia, urbanisation & state formation, land-use & environmental control, water studies, sectarianism, landscape & survey archaeology, ritual landscapes, 'natural' places, rock-art & rock-shelter studies. 
  • Asian religions including Buddhism & Hinduism. 
  • Medico-environmental humanities & ecological public health. 
  • Archaeology & environmental activism. 
  • Anthropocene & Climate change.
  • Nature reception, cultural attitudes towards 'pests' & pest-control.

Projects & grants:


Teaching Summary

On sabbatical leave from 26 Sept 2022 to 24 Sept 2023.

My teaching covers art & archaeology of South Asia, with an emphasis on complex society, religion & environment. I contribute to the MA in Archaeology & Heritage of Asia, & coordinate the Archaeology of Buddhism module, which as the first & only of its kind in the UK, acts as a cultural bridge between the diverse regional & chronological foci of the degree.

PhD Supervision:
I am happy to supervise topics on South Asian, & comparative Asian archaeology, & more broadly, on landscape & survey archaeology; water & irrigation; archaeology of ritual & religion; historical ecology;  archaeology, the Anthropocene, & the medico-environmental humanities; cultural responses to climate & environmental change.


  • Anna Den Hollander. Social Stratification & the Introduction of Cash Crops in South India. 2nd Supervisor (1st Supervisor. D. Fuller). 2020-. 
  • Mitzy Quinto Cortes, Destroyed but not lost: How to overcome an earthquake? Joint 2nd Supervisor with C. O'Grady (1st Supervisor: R. Peters). 2018-. 
  • Bratatee Barman (external: Berlin). Archaeological Landscapes of Brahmaputra River Valley, India. Joint 1st Supervisor with E. Kaiser (Berlin). 2018-2022. 
  • Ken Ishikawa (external: Oxford). Buddhist Rock-Cut Caves in Gujarat. Joint 1st Supervisor with A. Hein (Oxford). 2016-.  


  • Ellie Kingwell Banham, Early Rice Agricultural Systems in India. 2nd Supervisor (1st Supervisor: D. Fuller). Completed 2015. 
  • Alessandro Ceccarelli, Painted Grey Ware & Late Harappan / Proto-Historic cultures in NW India. 1st Supervisor (2nd Supervisor: P. Quinn). 2015-16.

Recent & upcoming talks:

  • Health Disease & Epidemics: Socio-Ecology of Medicine in Premodern South Asia (Panel Co-Chair), ECSAS conference, Torino, 26-29/7/23. 
  • Urban Pesticides, Chemical Exposures & Ecological Public Health, UCL Chemical Exposures Workshop. 9-11/6/22.
  • Pesticides, Toxicity & Urban Nature, UCL Anthropocene, Chemical Exposures Group. 21/3/22.
  • Decline of Central Indian Buddhism. Vihara Project, Kyoto. 13/11/21
  • Upland-lowland Interactions in India. Accessing Water in the South Asian City. Erfurt. 8/7/21.

2005 – 2019 Lecturer in South Asian Archaeology Institute of Archaeology University College London, United Kingdom
2002 – 2005 Junior Research Fellow Merton College Oxford University, United Kingdom
2002 – 2005 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Institute of Archaeology Oxford University, United Kingdom
2001 – 2002 Visiting Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Archaeology Center and Center of Buddhist Studies Stanford University, United States
Academic Background
2002   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1997   Master of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1993   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) School of Oriental and African Studies
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