Prof Bill Sillar
Professor of Archaeology and Technology in Society
Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
Institute of Archaeology
- Joined UCL
- 1st Sep 2000
My research has focused on the social context of technology. Most of my fieldwork has been located in the Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia, where I combine ethnographic and archaeological work with artefact analysis to gain a better understanding of indigenous society before, during and after the Inca Empire. I also use analysis of artefacts and experimental research to evaluate changes in technology and organisation of production.
Five themes of this research have been:
1) The development of theoretical and methodological approaches to investigate the cultural context of technology. This has included a focus on the sequence of techniques used in production (the chaîne opératoire) and investigating what influences the ‘technological choice’ of distinct materials, tools and techniques within specific social settings.
2) Archaeological and anthropological implications of Andean animistic approaches to the landscape and material world.
3) Investigating pottery production, trade and use in relation to the social and economic context of the producers and consumers
4) Research at Raqchi, Cuzco, Peru investigating the long-term occupation; characterising the construction and function of the Inka site; and identifying a major Wari installation of a ‘work camp’.
5) Research on Inka building practices in Cuzco and the surrounding region to identified changes in the use of labour and resources during the emergence of the Inka State.
I currently teach the following modules:
Interpreting Pottery (ARCL0100)
Sites and Artefacts (ARCL0012)
2000-2008 MA Artefact Studies Coordinator
2005 - Archaeo-Tech Co-coordinator
2008-2014 Admissions Tutor
2010-2018 BA Archaeology with a Year Abroad Coordinator
2013-2015 Careers Tutor
2016-2020 Chair of Teaching Committee
2017- BA Archaeology with a Year’s Placement Coordinator
2020 - UCL Education Committee - Elected member
2020 - 1st year Tutor
- University of Cambridge
- Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1995
- University of London
- Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1988
- University of London
- First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1985
Bill has a BSc (1982-1985) and MSc (1986-1988) from the Institute of Archaeology (then an independent Institute of the University of London) and a PhD (1989-1994) from the University of Cambridge. He taught at the University of Wales, Lampeter (1995-1998) before returning to the Institute of Archaeology (by then part of UCL) with a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (1998-2000) and was appointed a Lecturer in 2000, Senior Lecturer in2010, and as Professor or Archaeology and Technology in Society in 2021.
Bill enjoys teaching with a strong emphasis on object handling and analysis. He was given the Provost’s Teaching Award in 2011 Student Choice nominations for Exceptional Feedback, Inspiring Teaching Delivery and Active Student Partnership, and a Faculty Education Award (2020). With Dr Matt Pope he developed the IoA partnership with Butser Ancient Farm as an open-air laboratory for our teaching and research into ancient technology, early agriculture and heritage, where we moved our Experimental Archaeology Course ‘Archaeo-Tech’ in 2019.