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Dr Hayley Saul
Senior Research Fellow



Hayley undertook her PhD at the University of York (2012 graduation), investigating prehistoric cuisine using lipid residue analysis of pottery, and plant microfossils embedded in ‘foodcrusts’. Following her PhD she undertook a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship (2012-13) on the Japanese Archaeo-Ceramic Residue Research Strategy project (JARRS), a project that established the earliest use of ceramic technology. She began AHRC funded postdoctoral research with the Early Pottery in East Asia Project in 2014, before moving to Sydney, Australia, and taking up a Lectureship in Heritage Studies at Western Sydney University. Since 2015, Hayley’s research has focused on Himalayan heritage and archaeology, with particular interests in cuisine, bioculturalism, disaster and survivance. She strives to do research that is meaningfully engaged - with climate action, communities and industry partners. During her time at Western Sydney University this research commitment resulted in two leadership roles: Associate Dean International (South Asia), followed by Associate Dean Engagement (Acting). Hayley joined the Department of Archaeology at York in 2022 as a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Leverhulme funded ‘Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre’.


2021 - Associate Dean Engagement, School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University

2020 - Associate Dean International (South Asia), School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University

2018-2022 - Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Tourism with Western Sydney University

2016 - Lecturer in Heritage and Tourism with Western Sydney University

2013-14 - Lecturer in Archaeology (Fixed Term), University of York, Course Director for the MA in Mesolithic Studies, Acting Course Director for the MA in Early Prehistory.

2012 - Postdoctoral Research Felllowship, Jomon Archaeo-Ceramic Residue Research Strategy (JARRS), funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Departmental roles

Deputy Director, Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre



Hayley specialises in research at the intersections of archaeology, bioarchaeology and heritage. She takes a transdisciplinary approach to investigate the novel ways that heritage can tackle the complex precarities of a changing climate in the eight countries that make up the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Her overall aim is to explore traditional, and/or (pre)historic cultural practices that support sustainable agriculture, food security, forest relations, water conservation, disaster recovery and biodiversity in the Himalayas. Working with (often Indigenous) communities and a range of non-governmental organisations, such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Hayley co-develops ways to support and ‘activate’ these forms of heritage in the pursuit of flourishing mountain futures.

Hayley currently leads two research themes in the Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre: Cultures of Survivance (Axis 5) and Biocultural Relations (Axis 6).


The Langtang Heritage Trail, Nepal - An oral history project that is recording stories of landscape and co-designing these into a series of small digital exhibition ‘huts’ with the Langtangpa community in the Nepalese Himalayas. This project was initiated following an invitation from the community after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquakes which badly damaged the Langtang Valley. This project uses a Participatory Action Research methodology, responding to the dynamic needs of the local community, with the overall aim of understanding how disasters have shaped culture in the Langtang Valley, and how cultural flourishing is enmeshed with histories of risk and manifold precarities.

Cuisine along the Himalayan rim: past perspectives for future dietary resilience - Over 52% of the world’s undernourished people are from countries that make up the Himalayas (FAO-IFAD-WFP 2015). The aim of this project is to study culinary diversity and environmentally resilient foods along the southern Himalayan rim, analysing initial prehistoric adaptations and exploring how existing traditional practices respond to predicted climate change. The project, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, will employ a range of innovative organic residue analyses to study early food processing and prehistoric cuisine, and conduct engaged fieldwork to explore traditional techniques of food preparation and identify neglected and under-utilised species (NUS). This project will work with INGOs in innovative ways to support food security using these NUS species.

Liquid Landscape Heritage and Urban Water Scarcities in Kathmandu - The Kathmandu Valley is home to some of the oldest archaeological remains of water management technologies in Nepal, dating from at least the Licchavi Period (c. 400-750 AD). This phase witnessed the development of an innovative ‘hiti’ (water spout) system for commoning Kathmandu’s liquid landscape, incorporating ornate ‘rajkulo’ (ponds) ‘ghats’ (cremation platforms adjacent to sacred rivers) and ‘jahdu’ (drinking water basins). The politics of water has played a prominent role in the city’s development ever since, and good water governance poses significant challenges for the city’s future. Many of these groundwater-fed sources have been damaged by haphazard urban growth and unregulated extraction since at least the 1980s, and in 2019 piped supplies of water could only fulfil a quarter of the city’s demand (Shrestha and Seddon 2020). Water security, therefore, has risen to prominence for the two billion people that rely on the ‘water tower of Asia’ – the Himalayas – for drinking and washing resources, irrigation, ecosystem services and energy (Scott et al. 2019). This project will use a suite of geophysical, biomolecular and social science methods to record traditional water technologies and propose culturally appropriate ways to protect these biocultural knowledges and materialities.

Research group(s)

Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre


  • 2019-2021 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research, Langtang Heritage Trail $120,000
  • 2017 New Colombo Plan, Australia $63,000
  • 2017 WSU Women’s Fellowship, Australia $21,170
  • 2016 - ongoing $100,000 Category 3 funding for construction and evaluation of the Langtang Heritage Trail, Langtang, Nepal
  • 2016 Western Sydney University Vice Chancellor awarded funding for the Langtang Museum in Nepal $20,000
  • 2015 Frederick Williamson Memorial Fund, University of Cambridge, UK, $8000
  • 2015 Endeavour Research Fellowship, Australian Government Department for Education and Training, $24,500
  • 2013 Prehistoric Society, £1000
  • 2013 Society of Antiquaries, £3300
  • 2012 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science c. £40,000


Professor Alison Betts, Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney, Australia

Dr Michael Spate, Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney, Australia

Associate Professor Moti Rijal, Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Dr Anu Lama, Tourism and Livelihoods Specialist, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal

Dr Chi Huyen Truong, Program Coordinator, Himalayan University Consortium, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal


Anoj Khanal (Liquid Landscapes, Leverhulme)

External activities


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS)

Executive Steering Committee Member, Human Occupation of Mountain Environments (HOME) Commission

Co-Lead of the Mountain Heritage and Tourism Thematic Working Group, Himalayan University Consortium (HUC)

Education for Sustainable Mountain Futures, Taskforce Member, Himalayan University consortium (HUC)

Editorial duties

Assistant Editor, Landscape Research Journal

Invited talks and conferences


  • Saul, H. (2021) ‘Early pottery use across Eurasia and its potential for a prehistory of cuisine’, Invited presentation to the University of Sydney Near Eastern Seminar Series, 7/6/2021.
  • Truong, C. H. Zimmerman, A. Stout, B. Saul, H. (2021) ‘Building an impactful alliance for sustainable mountain education for the Hindu Kush Himalayas’, UNESCO Conferences on Education for Sustainable Development, May 17-19 2021.


Hayley sitting on a rock surrounded by trees

Contact details

Dr Hayley Saul
Senior Research Fellow
University of York
King's Manor
North Yorkshire

Tel: 01904 32 (8748)