Jason Hawkes
Research Associate



Jason is a South Asian archaeologist, specialising in religion, urbanism, material culture and societal transformation. 


After completing a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Durham, he went on to do an MA in South Asian Studies at SOAS (2000) and spent a brief spell living and working in India and Pakistan before receiving his PhD from Cambridge (2008).  Jason’s PhD research focused on the relationship between Buddhism and society in Central India between c.400 BC and AD 1200. This involved both architectural and sculptural analyses of the Buddhist monument at Bharhut, as well as surveys of the surrounding region in order to contextualise the site in its landscape setting.

After receiving his PhD, Jason was employed by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, where he managed their Finds Department for a number of years. Here, he developed his knowledge and understanding of material culture studies, while at the same time maintained a number of active research interests in South Asia. Jason continues to work in Central India, and is also involved in a number of other projects in West India, Nepal and the Himalayas.


Selected publications

Hawkes, J., et al. 2012. Finding the Khasa Malla: Preliminary Investigations of the Surkhet Valley, West Nepal. Ancient Nepal.

Hawkes, J. 2011. A Re-assessment of the Buddhist Stupa Site of Bharhut. Pragdhara: Annual Journal of the Directorate of Archaeology, Uttar Pradesh 19: 75-87.

Rabett, R., Appleby, J., Blyth, A., Farr, L., Gallou, A., Griffiths, T., Hawkes, J., Marcus, D., Marlow, L., Morley, M., Penkman, K., Reynolds, T., Stimpson, C., Cao Tâń, N., Van Son, N. 2011. 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 South Asian Archaeology 2007, BAR International Series 2133, eds. P. Callieri & L. Colliva. Oxford: Archaeopress, 133-143.

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

Hawkes, J. 2009. The Wider Archaeological Contexts of the Buddhist Stupa Site of Bharhut. In Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art Historical, and Historical Perspectives, eds. J. Hawkes & A. Shimada. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 146-174.       

Hawkes, J. & Shimada, A. 2009. Approaches to the Study of Buddhist Stupas. In Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art Historical, and Historical Perspectives, eds. J. Hawkes & A. Shimada. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, xi-xli.

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

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

Hawkes, J. 2007. Review of Yoffe, N. & Crowell, B. eds. Excavating Asian History: Interdisciplinary Studies in Archaeology and History. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 22: 139-44.



Research Interests

Jason’s research is in the field of South Asian archaeology, including that of modern day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  His interests concentrate on the relationships between religion and society, cultural interaction, and the development of urbanism during the early historic and medieval periods.  His 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 South Asia. Namely: geographical data, historical texts, and architectural and sculptural remains.
Currently, Jason is primarily working in West India as part of the Entrepôt project (lead by Dr Søren Sindbæk). Here he is attempting to develop an archaeological understanding of urbanism and international trade in India during the early medieval period by examining artefact assemblages from towns and ports along the west coast, and exploring their connections with Arabia and East Africa.




(with Dr Søren Sindbæk, Dr Paul Lane and Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones, York University)
This project seeks to investigate maritime trade and network urbanism during the early medieval period, through the examination of material flows, social networks and urban topographies. As part of this project, Jason’s research focuses on the development of urbanism at trade in West India, thereby providing an important contribution to our wider understanding of these dynamics during the medieval period in general.

Bharhut Region Project

Building on earlier doctoral research at the site of Bharhut, this on-going project seeks to further explore the relationships between the development of Buddhism and urbanism in Central India, c. 400 BC to AD300.  Many of the interpretations made during examination of the Bharhut area have challenged a number of traditional models regarding the way in which Buddhism was related to wider society during this period.  Thus, continued research in this area involves the re-assessment of other contemporary sites in the wider region in light of these finding.

Narmada Research Project

(with Dr Michael Willis, The British Museum; and Dr Anne Casile, Institut de recherche pour le dévelopement)
This multi-disciplinary project is aimed at investigating the development of urbanism and riverine interaction during the early historic and early medieval periods through the examination of towns and their hinterlands, agrarian history, technology and the movement of people, goods and belief systems along the Narmada River, India.

Sinja-Surkhet Research Project

(with Christopher Evans, University of Cambridge)
Involving excavations at the medieval site of Sinja Kohla and various surveys in the Surkhet Valley in West Nepal, this project has sought to better understand the rule of the Khasa Malla, c. AD1200-1500.  During this period, the Khasa Malla ruled the entire Central Himalayan region, which became an important zone of cultural interaction between India and Tibet.  Building on the results of this work, a new project is currently being developed that will seek to further investigate trans-national interactions across the Himalayas during the medieval period.

Research group(s)

Research Groups

Narmada Research Group (http://www.basas.org.uk/research-groups/narmada-research-group/)
Relics and Relic Worship in the Early Buddhism of India and Burma (http://www.basas.org.uk/research-groups/relics-relic-worship-india-burma/)

External activities



Research Associate, Aarhus University, Institute of Culture and Society


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society


Association for Asian Studies
Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies
British Association for South Asian Studies
Britain-Nepal Academic Council

Editorial duties

Associate Editor, South Asian Studies


Contact details

Dr Jason Hawkes
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor