Who We Are

The Early Rice Project Team:

Dr. Dorian Fuller, Professor of Archaeobotany, the Principle Investigator, has worked on the archaeobotany of India, China and elsewhere for several years. 

Dr. Andrew Bevan, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Analysis in archaeology, is Co-Investigator and will coordinate the development of improved geographical modelling of ancient rice agriculture and methane emissions.

Dr. Alison Weisskopf, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, is leading our work on phytoliths both from modern analogue rice samples and Chinese archaeological sites.

Dr. Cristina Castillo, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, is leading our work on archaeobotany in Thailand and Vietnam, including field sampling and analysis of plant macro-remains. 

Other affiliated or recent team members

Eleanor Kingwell-Banham, NERC-funded PhD student, working on early rice cultivation in Sri Lanka and Orissa, is writing up her PhD.

Patrick Austin, worked as a research assistant, sorting archaeobotanical samples from China, India, and Sri Lanka.

Melissa Tan, worked as a research assistant, processing Phytolith samples from Vietnam, India and China. She completed her MSc in Environmental Archaeology at UCL.

Harriet Martin, worked as out outreach officer (2010-11), and run a pilot program of outreach to London schools. She also designed this website.

Project Partners

We are working closely with a number of collaborators from abroad.


Dr. Ling Qin, Associate Professor, School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, Beijing. She coordinates archaeological sampling in China with her students  works on macro-remains from Chinese Neolithic sites.

Xiaoyan Yang. Associate researcher, Inst. of Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing), runs the leading laboratory on archaeological starch grain research in China and has active sampling programs for archaeological starch and phytoliths

In addition we have worked with 

Prof. Ling-hua Tang, Jiangsu Academy of Agriculture Science, Nanjing, 

Dr. Guiyin Jin, Dept. of Archaeology, Shandong University, Jinan


Rasmi Shoocongdej is Professor of Archaeology at Silapakorn University, Bangkok, and has active field research programs on Neolithic and pre-Neolithic sites in northern Thailand. She provides expertise of archeological context of Thai evidence.

Japan Prof. Yo-Ichiro Sato, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto


Rabi Mohanty is Professor of archaeology at Deccan College Pune, and has active field research in eastern India (Orissa). He can facilitate expanded geographical sampling for archaeobotanical remains, and provides expertise of archaeological context of Indian evidence

Professor Emeritus Mukund Kajale, from Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, also continues to work with us on determining the ecology of taxonimic diversity of rice weed assemblages


Peter Bellwood. Professor of Archaeology at Australia National University, is a global leader in the archaeology of Southeast Asia, and the dispersal of agricultural populations in the region and on cultural phylogenies of Southeast Asian archaeology


Barry Rolett. Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, has expertise on the Archaeology and Zooarchaeology of Southeast China, and has been collaborating in recent years with Fujian provincial Institute of Archaeology of Neolithic excavations and study of palaeoenvironmental and sea-level change sequences

Prof. Professor William Ruddiman, University of Virginia, has partnered with the Early Rice project in previous initial efforts to modeo methane emissions.


Jacob van Etten is senior research associate at Bioversity International (Cali, Colombia), leading a CGIAR international research program on Agricultural Biodiversity for Climate Change adaptation. He is at the forefront of geospatial modelling of crop dispersal histories; he carried out spatial analysis of our rice database for the preliminary estimates of methane emissions from ancient rice agriculture published in 2011