Dr Jason Hawkes

  • College positions:
    Bye-Fellow in Archaeology
    College Tutor
    Director of Studies of Archaeology
  • University positions:
    Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
    Fellow, Cambridge Interfaith Programme
    Head of Admissions, St Edmund’s College
  • Subjects: Archaeology


PhD, Archaeology (University of Cambridge); MA, South Asian Studies (SOAS); BA, Archaeology and Anthropology (University of Durham)

About me

Originally from the northeast of England (a part of the world I still call ‘home’), I have lived and worked in and around Cambridge for just over 20 years. First as a PhD student, and then variously as an archaeologist, museum curator, lecturer and now Bye-Fellow and Tutor at Caius. From time to time – whether through having the good fortune to attend conferences, being part of international research projects or excavating ancient remains – my work has led me to many different parts of the world including Australia, East Africa, the United States, Scandinavia and South and Southeast Asia. What, however, connects all these aspects of my life is that everywhere I have been and everything I have done has involved working with students of all ages and from all backgrounds. As a College Tutor I draw on this experience to help me connect with and get to know new students at Caius, wherever they are from. I also have a long-standing commitment to mental health support, both within and without academia. Like all of the Tutors here at Caius, I work closely with the Student Health Centre and other College offices to make sure that Cambridge works for our students – the most valuable part of our community – just as much as they are working for their degrees.

Research interests

My research is in the field of historical and landscape archaeology, museums and heritage, with a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia. My interests concentrate on the relationships between religion and society, cultural interaction and urbanism during ancient and medieval periods; and the memory and meaning of the past in the present. My work involves a number of new methodologies, combining the examination of material culture with various types of evidence that tend not to be examined archaeologically in Asia. Namely: geographical data, textual sources, as well as architectural and sculptural remains.

Currently, I am writing a book on the archaeology of early Buddhism, for which an up to date authoritative introductory text does not exist. I am also working in Central India as part of the French National Research Agency-funded 'Mandu: Landscapes and Waterscapes of Asia' project. Here, we are (a) investigating the city’s original hydraulic system that Islamic rulers used to harness the monsoon rains; and (b) working with the local Adivasi (tribal) population who continue to live amongst the ruins of this ‘abandoned’ city to record their traditional subsistence strategies. My own research interests lie in the incorporation of the voices of the Adivasi community, so far absent from all archaeological histories of South Asia, into the interpretation of the archaeology and built heritage at the site and explore the ways they intersect with other layers of meaning that this overtly Islamic site have for the majority Hindu tourists who visit it.


Teaching interests

In addition to my specialism in South Asian archaeology and art, I am involved in teaching general archaeological method and theory, as well as comparative world archaeology.  Recently, I have also started to contribute to courses on the medieval globe and the relationship of South Asia to the Indian Ocean networks and emerging world economies.


Awards and prizes

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society



Hawkes, J., R. Abbas, A. Casile, Jaseera C.M., C. Lefrancq & S. Toraskar. 2022. Grounding Texts and Theories of Societal Change. Antiquity 95(384): 1-17. doi: 10.1017/aqy.2022.28

Hawkes, J. 2021. An Imaterial Problem: Towards and Archaeology of Textiles and Textile Production in Historical South Asia, Asian Perspectives 60(2): 1-34

Hawkes, J. & A. Casile. 2020. Back to Basics: Returning to the Evidence and Mapping Knowledge in South Asian Archaeology, Asian Archaeology. doi: 10.1007/s41826-020-00032-4

Hawkes, J., Abbas, R., Shete, G. & Willis, M. (2020) Iron Age Stratigraphy: The Sequence at Chachondi, Vidarbha. In L. Greaves and A. Hardy eds., Religions, Society, Trade and Kingship: Archaeology and Art in South Asia and along the Silk Road - 3500 BCE-5th century CE, Vol. I. New Delhi: Dev Publishers, pp. 43-61.

Hawkes, J., R. Abbas & S. Toraskar. 2020. Multi-Period Regional Survey Data from Vidarbha, Maharashtra, India, Journal of Open Archaeology Data 8(1): 2. doi: 10.5334/joad.61

Kennet, D., Hawkes, J. & Willis, M. (2020) Paithan Excavation: Historical, Archaeological, Geographical and Epigraphical Contexts. In D. Kennet, J. Varaprasada Rao and M. Kasturi Bai eds., Excavations at Paithan, Maharashtra: Transformations in Early Historic and Early Medieval India. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 324-335.

Lefrancq, C. & J. Hawkes. 2020. Accepting Variation and Embracing Uncertainty: Regional Pottery Typologies in South Asian Archaeology, Open Archaeology 6: 269-328. doi: 10.1515/opar-2020-0112

Hawkes, J. (2019) The Elephant in the Room: Archaeology and the Early Medieval Period in India. In E. Myrdal ed., South Asian Archaeology 2014. New Delhi: Dev Publishers, pp. 169-183.

Lefrancq, C. & J. Hawkes. 2019. A Typology of Practice: The Archaeological Ceramics from Mahurjhari, Internet Archaeology 52. doi: 10.11141/ia.52.9

Mohanty, R.K., J. Hawkes, C. Lefrancq & R. Abbas, R. 2019. Report on the Dating of the Historical Period Site at Mahurjhari, Vidarbha, Heritage: Interdisciplinary Journal of Archaeological Research 7: 15-28.

Hawkes, J., Abbas, R., Shete, G. & Willis, M. (2017) ‘A Newly Discovered Iron Age settlement at Chachondi, District Amravati, Maharashtra’, Puratattva, 46: 114-125.

Hawkes, J. (2016) ‘Religious Transformations in Vindhya Pradesh’. In U. Franke & V. Widorn eds., Contextualizing Material Culture in South and Central Asia in Pre-Modern Times. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 323-337.

Hawkes, J., & Abbas, R. (2016) ‘Copperplates in Context: Preliminary Investigation of the Study and Archaeological Settings of Land Grant Inscriptions’, Pratnatattva, 22: 41-71.

Hawkes, J., Abbas, R., & Willis, M. (2016) ‘Report of the Archaeological Survey of Chamak and its Surroundings, District Amaravati, Maharashtra’, Ancient Asia, 7: 1-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/aa.115.

Rabett, R., Ludgate, N., Stimpson, C., Hill, E., Hunt, C., Ceron, J., Farr, L., Morley, M., Reynolds, T., Zukswert, H., Simpson, D., Nyiri, B., Verhoeven, M., Appleby, J., Meneely, J., Phan, L., Dong, N-N., Lloyd-Smith, L., Hawkes, J., Blyth, A., & Nguyêń C. T. (2016) ‘Tropical Limestone Forest Resilience and late Pleistocene Foraging During MIS-2 in the Trang An Massif, Vietnam’, Quaternary International, 417: 1-20.

Hawkes, J. (2015) ‘Kingship, Buddhism and the Forging of a Region: Medieval Pilgrimage in West Nepal’, Room One Thousand [online], 3.

Hawkes, J. (2015) ‘Passage to India: Locating South Asia in the Indian Ocean world during the early medieval period’, Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology, 10: 1-24.

Hawkes, J. & Wynne-Jones, S. (2015) ‘India in Africa: Trade Goods and Connections of the Late First Millennium’, Afriques [online], 6. URL: http://afriques.revues.org/1752.

Hawkes, J. (2014) ‘Bharhut as an Archaeological Area’. In D.K. Chakrabarti & M. Lal eds., History of Ancient India, Volume IV: Political History and Administration. New Delhi: Aryan Books, pp. 351-366.

Hawkes, J. (2014) ‘Chronological Sequences and the “Problem” of Early Medieval Settlement in India’, Puratattva, 44: 208-228.

Hawkes, J. (2014) ‘Finding the Early Medieval in South Asian Archaeology’, Asian Perspectives, 53(1): 53-96.

Hawkes, J. (2014) ‘One size does not fit all: Landscapes of Religious Change in Central India’, South Asian Studies, 30(1): 1-15.

Hawkes, J. & Wynne-Jones, S. (2014) ‘India in Africa’. In S. Sindbaek & A. Trakidakis eds., The World in the Viking Age. Roskilde: The Viking Ship Museum, p.64.

Hawkes, J., Alvey, B., Evans, C., Harward, T., & Kunwar, R. (2012) ‘Finding the Khasa Malla: Preliminary Investigations of the Surkhet Valley, West Nepal’, Ancient Nepal, 179: 1-14.

Hawkes, J. (2011) ‘A Re-assessment of the Buddhist Stupa Site of Bharhut’, Pragdhara, 19: 75-87.

Rabett, R., Appleby, J., Blyth, A., Farr, L., Gallou, A., Griffiths, T., Hawkes, J., et al. (2011) ‘Inland shell midden site-formation: Investigation of a Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene Island Shell Midden from Tràng An, Northern Vietnam’, Quaternary International, 239: 153-169.

Hawkes, J. (2010) ‘Bharhut and its Wider Regional Context’. In P. Callieri and L. Colliva eds., South Asian Archaeology 2007, BAR International Series 2133. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 133-143.

Hawkes, J. (2010) ‘Samian Ware’. In H. Cancik & H. Sneider eds., Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity, Vol. 15. Leiden: Brill Publishers, col. 1043.

Hawkes, J. (2009) ‘The Wider Archaeological Contexts of the Buddhist Stupa Site of Bharhut’. In J. Hawkes & A. Shimada eds., Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art Historical, and Historical Perspectives. Delhi: OUP, pp. 146-174.

Hawkes, J. & Shimada, A. (2009) ‘Approaches to the Study of Buddhist Stupas’. In J. Hawkes & A. Shimada eds., Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art Historical, and Historical Perspectives. Delhi: OUP, pp. xi-xli.

Hawkes, J. & Shimada, A. eds. (2009) Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art Historical, and Historical Perspectives. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Hawkes, J. (2008) ‘Bharhut: A Re-Assessment’, South Asian Studies, 24: 1-14.

Hawkes, J. (In Press) ‘The Elephant in the Room: Archaeology and the Early Medieval Period in India’. In E. Myrdal ed., South Asian Archaeology 2014. New Delhi: Dev Publishers.

Hawkes, J., Abbas, R., Shete, G., and Willis, M. (In Press) ‘Iron Age Stratigraphy’. In L. Greaves and A. Hardy eds., South Asian Archaeology 2018. New Delhi: Dev Publishers.