Institute of Archaeology

Dr Julia Shaw

Dr Julia Shaw

Associate Professor

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2005

Research summary

My current research focuses on interfaces between archaeology, ecological public health, & global climate-change activism including the history and 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 compliments the MA course of the same name that I've been teaching and updating for the last ten years, and an archaeological study of religion, 'nature' and society 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. 
  • Archaeology of Asian religions including Buddhism & Hinduism. 
  • Archaeology, medical humanities & public ecological health. 
  • Archaeology, Climate change, Anthropocene & environmental activism. 
  • Perceptions of nature, '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 and environment. I contribute to the MA in Archaeology and Heritage of Asia, and 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 and survey archaeology; water & irrigation; archaeology of ritual & religion; historical ecology;  archaeology & the medico-environmental humanities; archaeology & the Anthropocene; religious & intellectual responses to climate & environmental change.


  • Anna Den Hollander. Social Stratification & the Introduction of Cash Crops in South India. 2nd Supervisor (1st Supervisor. Dorian Fuller). Since 2020. 
  • Mitzy Quinto Cortes, Destroyed but not lost: How to overcome an earthquake? Joint 2nd Supervisor with Caitlin O'Grady (1st Supervisor: Renata Peters). Since 2018. 
  • Bratatee Barman (external: Berlin). Archaeological Landscape of Brahmaputra River Valley, India. Joint 1st Supervisor with Elke Kaiser (Berlin). Since 2018. 
  • Ken Ishikawa (external: Oxford). Geographical & Chronological Contextualisation of Buddhist Rock-Cut Caves in Gujarat. Joint 1st Supervisor with Anke Hein (Oxford). Since 2016.  


  • Ellie Kingwell Banham, Early Rice Agricultural Systems in India. 2nd Supervisor (1st Supervisor: Dorian Fuller). Completed 2015. 
  • Alessandro Ceccarelli, From Harappa to Aryavarta: the Painted Grey Ware & the link between the Late Harappan & Proto-Historic cultures in North-Western India. 1st Supervisor (2nd Supervisor: Patrick Quinn). 2015-16.

Upcoming presentations:

  • Urban Pesticides, Chemical Exposures and 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.


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2002
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 1997
School of Oriental and African Studies
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1993


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 research networks & affiliations

 External affiliations

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

Editorial Board Membership