Dr. Julia Shaw

Dr Julia Shaw

Lecturer in South Asian Archaeology



My research focuses on the archaeology of early-historic South Asia, urbanism, agrarian and environmental change, and the history of religions. My current project focuses on the archaeology of Religion and Nature in ancient India, with a particular focus on environmental ethics and Buddhist economics.

Key Publications

Books and edited volumes:

Shaw, J. (Ed.) (2013). Archaeology of Religious Change. Special volume of World Archaeology 45.1 (Routledge)

Shaw, J. (2007). Buddhist Landscapes in Central India: Sanchi hill and archaeologies of religious and social change, c. 3rd century BC to 5th century AD. London: British Association for South Asian Studies, The British Academy; Leftcoast Press.

Journal articles:

Shaw, J. (2013). ‘Archaeologies of Buddhist propagation in ancient India: ‘ritual’ and ‘practical’ models of religious change’, in, J. Shaw (Ed.) Archaeology of Religious Change. World Archaeology 45.1, 83-108 (Routledge)

Shaw, J. (2013). ‘Archaeology of Religious Change: Introduction’, in, J. Shaw (Ed.) Archaeology of Religious Change. World Archaeology 45.1: 1-11 (Routledge).

Shaw, J. (2011). ‘Monasteries, monasticism, and patronage in ancient India: Mawasa, a recently documented hilltop Buddhist complex in the Sanchi area of Madhya Pradesh’, South Asian Studies 27 (2): 111-130.

Sutcliffe, J., J. Shaw, and E. Brown (2011). ‘Historical water resources in South Asia: the hydrological background’, Hydrological Sciences Journal 56 (5): 775-788.

Shaw, J., J. V. Sutcliffe, L. Lloyd-Smith, J-L. Schwenninger, and M.S. Chauhan, with contributions by E. Harvey and O.P. Misra (2007), ‘Ancient Irrigation and Buddhist history in Central India: Optically Stimulated Luminescence and pollen sequences from the Sanchi dams’, Asian Perspectives 46(1): 166-201.

Beck, A., J. Shaw, and D. Stott (2007). ‘Best practice approaches for applying satellite imagery for landscape archaeological applications: a case study from the world heritage site of Sanchi, India’, Proc. SPIE 6749, Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology VII, 674905 (October 29, 2007).

Shaw, J. and J.V. Sutcliffe (2005). ‘Ancient Dams and Buddhist Landscapes in the Sanchi area: New evidence on Irrigation, Land use and Monasticism in Central India’, South Asian Studies 21, 1-24.

Shaw, J. (2004). ‘Naga sculptures in Sanchi’s archaeological landscape: Buddhism, Vaisnavism and local agricultural cults in central India, first century BCE to fifth century CE’, Artibus Asiae LXIV(1), 5-59.

Shaw, J. (2004). ‘Early historic landscapes in central India: recent archaeological investigations in districts Raisen and Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, 2003-4’, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Archaeology 1, 143-150.

Shaw, J. and J.V. Sutcliffe (2003). ‘Ancient dams, settlement archaeology and Buddhist propagation in central India: the hydrological background’, Hydrological Sciences Journal 48 (2), 277-291.

Shaw, J. and J.V. Sutcliffe (2003). ‘Water management, patronage networks and religious change: new evidence from the Sanchi dam complex and counterparts in Gujarat and Sri Lanka’, South Asian Studies 19, 73-104.

Shaw, J. and J.V. Sutcliffe (2001). ‘Ancient irrigation works in the Sanchi area: an archaeological and hydrological investigation’, South Asian Studies 17, 55-75.

Shaw, J. (2000). ‘Ayodhya’s sacred landscape: ritual memory, politics and archaeological “fact”‘, Antiquity 74, 693-700.

Shaw, J. (2000). ‘Sanchi and its archaeological landscape: Buddhist monasteries, settlements and irrigation works in central India’, Antiquity 74, 775-776.

Chapters in books:

Shaw, J. In Press (2015). ‘Archaeologies of Buddhism and its landscape setting in central India: the Sanchi Survey Project’, in, S. Garg (Ed.), Archaeology of Buddhism: recent discoveries in South Asia. Colombo and New Delhi: SAARC Cultural Centre / Manohar Publishers.

Shaw, J. In Press (2015). ‘Buddhist and non-Buddhist mortuary traditions in ancient India: stūpas, relics and the archaeological landscape’, in, C. Renfrew, M. Boyd, and I. Morely (Eds.), ‘Death rituals and social order in the ancient world: Death shall have no dominion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shaw, J. (2013). ‘Sanchi as an archaeological area’, in, D.K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal (Eds.), History of Ancient India, vol. 4. New Delhi: Vivekananda International Foundation and Aryan Books, 388-427.

Shaw, J. (2009). ‘Stūpas, monasteries and relics in the landscape: typological, spatial, and temporal patterns in the Sanchi area’, in A. Shimada and J. Hawkes, eds., Buddhist Stūpas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art-Historical, and Historical Perspectives. New Delhi : Oxford University Press.

Shaw, J. (2005). ‘The archaeological setting of Buddhist monasteries in central India: a summary of a multi-phase survey in the Sanchi area, 1998-2000’, in C. Jarrige and V. Lefèvre (eds.), South Asian Archaeology 2001: proceedings of the 16th international conference of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, Paris: Éditions Recherche sur les Civilisations, ADPF, Vol. 2, 665-676.

Shaw, J. (2000). ‘The sacred landscape’, in M. Willis, with contributions by J. Cribb and J. Shaw, Buddhist Reliquaries from Ancient India, London: British Museum Press, 27-38.

Shaw, J. (1999). ‘Buddhist landscapes and monastic planning in eastern Malwa: the elements of intervisibility, surveillance and the protection of relics’, in T. Insoll, (ed.), Case Studies in Archaeology and World Religion: the proceedings of the Cambridge conference, Oxford: Archaeopress, 5-17.

Publications In Preparation / Forthcoming

Shaw, J. In Preparation. Archaeologies of well-being: environmental ethics and Buddhist economics in ancient India.

Shaw, J. ed. Forthcoming. Archaeologies of Environmental Ethics. Special volume of World Archaeology (Routledge), vol 48.4 (2016) [to include Introductory essay, and research article]

Projects and Collaborations 

Archaeology of environmental ethics and Buddhist economics in ancient India (British Academy mid career fellowship, 2014-15) Project partners (informal at this stage): LMU Munich (Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society, and Institut für Indologie und Tibetologie); University of Leiden (Institute for Area Studies, SAS India en Tibet) ; University of Zurich (Environmental Studies Group; and Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies)

Other collaborations:

  1. Atman and Psyche: Cosmology and the self in ancient India and ancient Greece. Richard Fynes (De Montford), and Richard Seaford (Exeter).

            Project Advisor


  1. Seshat-Global History Databank. Harvey Whitehouse (Oxford), Pieter Francois (Oxford), Peter Turchin (UConn) and Edward Slingerland (UBC).

            South Asia Regional Supervisor


Teaching interests

Urbanisation, Religion and nature, contested landscapes, early Indian religions and society, religion and climate change, religion and environmental change, archaeology of early Indian medical traditions, approaches to the body, archaeology of natural sacred places, environmental ethics.
Areas of PhD research supervision

Early historic India, urbanisation, religious history, environmental change, religion and nature, landscape archaeology, and as above.