Dorian Fuller
  • d.fuller@ucl.ac.uk
  • Direct: +44 (0)20 7679 4771
  • Internal: 24771
  • Room 311
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Dorian Fuller

Research Interests

  • Archaeobotany. Human Plant Use in Prehistory, reconstructing agricultural systems, approaches to interpreting archaeobotanical evidence and its integration with theoretical issues in archaeology.
  • Origins and Spread of Agriculture. Plant domestication, including work in Asia and Africa
  • South Asia. Prehistory, Protohistory, environmental history.
  • Neolithic China
  • Nubia and Sudan 
  • Archaeological theory, in Environmental Archaeology and the history of thought with regard to Sudanic and South Asian archaeology.
  • The Anthropocene

Research Directory Records


Blog: the archaeobotanist

Educational Background

  • Lowell High School, San Francisco
  • BA, Yale University, 1995, double major in Anthropology and Organismal Biology.
  • Honours thesis (Anthropology). Problems in the Archaeology of Meroitic and Post-Meroitic Nubia:Theoretical and Methodological Issues
  • Honours thesis (Org. Bio.). Systematics and Leaf Architecture of Gunnera.
  • M.Phil, Cambridge, Archaeology, 1997
  • M. Phil thesis. The Emergence of Agricultural Economies in India: A Reconsideration of the Bio-archaeological Evidence
  • PhD Thesis submitted Dec. 1999, Cambridge, examined March 2000, approved May 2000.The Emergence of Agricultural Societies in South India: Botanical and Archaeological Perspectives.

Research Projects and Fieldwork


  • Archaeobotanical studies from Late Neolithic Baligang, Henan Province, China. Excavations of Peking University. Archaeobotanical research supported by the ICCHA (UCL-PKU).
  • Archaeobotany from settlement surveys in the Upper Ying, Yi and Luo River Valleys, Henan (Henan Provincial Institute of Archaeology & PKU)
  • The Archaeobotany of Tian Luo Shan: An investigation of foraging and rice cultivation in the Hemudu Neolithic culture (Yangzi Delta, China) (excavations of the Zhejiang Pronvincial Institute of Archaeology).
  • The archaeobotany of Chuodun and Caoxieshan, Neolithic Paddy-field sites near Suzhou, China (excavations of the Suzhou Museum).
  • The archaeobotany of Maoshan. Liangzhu era paddyfield site near Hangzhou (excavations of the Zhejiang Pronvincial Institute of Archaeology).

Southwest Asia

  • Jarmo Neolithic excavations and archaeobotany, Iraqi Kurdistan (2012-)
  • Archaeobotany of Shahirizor Research Project, Iraqi Kurdistan (2012-)
  • Archaeobotany of Catalhoyuk, Konya Plains, Turkey (2012-)
  • Archaeobotany of Ziyaret Tepe, Turkey, Assyrian Period.

South Asia

  • Archaeobotany of the South Indian Neolithic and joint director of the of Bellary Archaeological Research project
  • Archaeobotany of Neolithic-Chalcolithic coastal Orissa, in collaboration with Professor Rabi Mohanty of Deccan College. This is now being pursued as part of the Early Rice Project
  • Archaeobotany of  coastal ports in northern Sri Lanka (Mantai, Kantharodai, Karinda). This is being pursued as part of the Early Rice Project and the SEALINKS project (Oxford).
  • Archaeobotany of ancient Hund, Pakistan, in collaboration with Dr. Ihsan Ali, University of Peshawar
  • Archaeobotany of ancient Paithan, Maharashtra, India, project of the Society for South Asian Studies, directed by Dr. Derek Kennet (Durham).
  • Archaeobotany of the Garhwal Himalaya, Uttranchal, India in collaboration with Professor Vinod Nautiyal, Dept. of Archaeology, University of Garhwal 
  • Archaeobotany of the Vindhyan Neolithic, in collaboration with Professor JN Pal, University of Allahabad
  • Archaeobotany of Early Historic sites in Southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala, including Pattanam Project of the Kerala Council for Historical Research.
  • Archaeobotany of Neolithic Golbai Sassan and Gopalpur, Orissa (with  Rabi Mohanty, Deccan College).
  • Archaeobotany of Bangladesh, in collaboration with Mizanur Rahman, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka


  • Archaeobotany and Ethnobotany of the Gamo Highlands, Southern Ethiopia, part of the Gamo-Baroda Project of Kathryn and John Arthur and Matthew Curtis (2011-.
  • Contributions on the archaeobotany of the Swahili coast and islands in collaboration with the SEALINKS project (Oxford).
  • Artefact analysis and monograph preparation: Arminna West: The Late Nubian Necropolis and Buildings Excavated 1963, Publications of the Pennsylvania-Yale Expedition to Egypt, no. 7. Peabody Museum of Natural History and the University Museum of Pennsylvania (New Haven and Philadelphia).
  • Bio-Archaeology and Archaeological Survey (1997), Wadi Muqaddam, central Sudan, Sudan Archaeological Research Society, project directors: Michael Mallinson and Dr. Lawrence Smith (Cambridge).
  • The Archaeobotany of the Napatan city of Kawa (Sudan), excavated by Sudan Archaeological Research Society/ British Museum expedition, directed by Derek Welsby.
  • Rescue archaeology of the proposed Hamdab Dam reservoir, Sudan: SARS Amri-Kirbekan expedition, co-directed with Derek Welsby (British Museum) [2003-04]
  • Environmental Archaeology of Volubilis, Morocco. UCL joint project with Ministry of Culture, Morocco, including excavations of the early Islamic town, directed by Elisabeth Fentress and Hassan Limane. [2001-2006]
  • Archaeobotany (mainly plant impressions) from later Prehistoric sites of Dhar Nema (Southwest Mauritania), from fieldwork by Dr. Kevin MacDonald and Dr. Robert Vernet.
  • "Crop dispersal and agricultural adaptation in the Libyan Sahara," NERC-funded research project (co-investogator with Professor David Mattingley, University of Leceister), being pursued with PhD student Ruth Pelling. [2003-2007]
  • "Reassessing ancient Egyptian crops, crop husbandry and the agrarian landscape," AHRB-funded research project (co-investigator with Professor Peter Ucko), with post-doctoral research fellow Mary Anne Murray (from October 2003-2006)
  • Co-organiser (with Dr. Mary Anne Murray) of the 5th International Workshop for African Archaeobotany here at the Institute on 2-5 July 2006. Now preparing the proceedings for publication.
  • Archaeobotany (mainly plant impressions) from later Prehistoric sites of the Tilemsi Valley, Mali (fieldwork of Kate Manning)
  • Archaeobotany of Islamic Essouk, NE Mali (fieldwork of Sam Nixon).
  • Archaeobotany of Iron Age sites in Rwanda (fieldwork of John Giblin).
  • Co-Investigator on "Was barley locally adapted to drought conditions in ancient Nubia?" A NERC-Funded projected projectm with principle investigator, Dr. Robin Allaby, University of Warwick. [2009-2012]

Link to thematic / annotated publications and downloads

Current Students

  • Andie Byrnes The development of early food producing economies in Egypt: A comparative study (Second supervisor: Andrew Reid)
  • Louis Champion A ceramic and archaeobotanical study of food and drink evolution in the African Savannah – Forest transition (Second supervisor: Kevin MacDonald)
  • Rita Dal Martello Contact, influence and dispersal. An analysis of agriculture and cooking practices in Neolithic Yunnan and the diaspora of Upper Yangtze populations (second supervisor Yijie Zhuang
  • Lara Gonzalez Carretero An archaeobotanical perspective on changing cuisine: cooking practices, minor foods and condiments at Çatalhöyük (Joint supervisor: Karen Wright)
  • Hanna Sosnowska Lithic Analyses in Iraqi Kurdistan from the Neolithic to Proto-Urban period (Joint Supervisor: David Wengrow)
  • Anne de Vareilles Sommieres  When to farm and how to farm, that is the question. An archaeobotanical perspective on the Mesolithic to Neolithic transition in the Western Balkans (Joint supervisor with Marc Vander Linden)

Second Supervisor

  • Brian Hole The use of archaeology by Indigenous Tribes and the Nation State in India to reinforce and create national identities (Principal supervisor: Tim Schadla-Hall)
  • Catherine Walker The consequences of human adaptation through studying the mismatch between ancient and modern diets (Principle supervisor: Mark Thomas, Dept. of Genetics, Evolution and Environment)
  • Phillip Austin Wood resources, fuel use and environmental context of Mayan salt production in Belize (Principle supervisor: Elizabeth Graham)

Completed PhD students

  • Sureshkumar Muthukumaran An Ecology of Trade: Tropical Cultivars, Commensals and Fauna between the Near East and South Asia in the 1st Millennium BC(Principal supervisor: Karen Radner, History Department). Submitted 2016
  • Rebecca Beardmore Understanding Late Bronze and Early Iron Age land use and subsistence strategies in Kazakhstan: an approach using geoarchaeology and phytolith analysis (Second supervisor: Stephen Shennan). Submitted 2016
  • Michael Brass The archaeology of social organisation at Jebel Moya: 5th to 1st millennium BC (Principal supervisor: Kevin MacDonald). Submitted 2016
  • Ellie Kingwell Banham Early rice agricultural systems in India (Second supervisor:Julia Shaw). Submitted 2015.
  • Ying Zhang Animal procurement strategies in Neolithic of the Yangtze River Basin: Zooarchaeological and Ecological Approaches (As second supervisor; Principal supervisor: Louise Martin). Submitted 2014.
  • Yvette Balbaligo Earthenware pottery from Ille Cave, Palawan, the Philippines: local change and regional connections (As second supervisor; Principal supervisor: Bill Sillar). Submitted 2014.
  • Cristina Castillo The archaeobotany of Khao Sam Kaeo: Assessing the agriculture resource base and human occupation of a Late Prehistoric Site on the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Second supervisor: Vince Piggott). Submitted 2013
  • Leilani Lucas (nee Espinda) Economy and interaction: Exploring archaeobotanical contributions in Prehistoric Cyprus (Second supervisors: Sue ColledgeCyprian Broodbank). Submitted 2012
  • Jixiang Song The Agricultural economy during the Longshan period: An archaeobotanical perspective from Shandong and Shanxi (Second supervisor: Tao Wang). Submitted 2011
  • Brigitte Balanda Development of royal funerary traditions along the Middle Nile Valley during the Napatan period. (Second supervisor: John Tait). Submitted 2011.
  • Charlene Murphy Pompeii, A changing city: The archaeobotanical analysis of Regio VI Insula I, Pompeii Italy (Second supervisor: Kris Lockyear). Submitted 2010.
  • Phillipa Ryan Diversity of plant and land use during the Near Eastern Neolithic: phytolith perspectives from Çatalhöyük [as Secondary Supervisor, Primary supervisor: Arlene Rosen). Submitted 2010]
  • Alison Weisskopf Vegetation, agriculture and social change in Neolithic north central China, a phytolith study (Second supervisor: Arlene Rosen). Submitted 2009 
  • Meriel McClatchie Arable agriculture and social organisation: a study of crops and farming systems in Bronze Age Ireland.  (Second supervisor: Ken Thomas). Submitted 2008.
  • Michelle Wollstonecroft Post-harvest intensification in Late Pleistocene Southwest Asia: food processing as a critical variable in Epipalaeolithic subsistence systems and subsistence change. (Second supervisor: David Harris) Submitted 2007.
  • Ruth Pelling Agriculture and trade amongst the Garamantes: 3000 years of archaeobotanical data from the Sahara and its margins.  (Second supervisor: Elizabeth Fentress). Submitted 2007.
  • Emma Harvey Early Agricultural Communities in northern and eastern India. (Second supervior: Arlene Rosen). Submitted 2006

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