• Jennifer French (UCL Institute of Archaeology, GB)


Several distinguished archaeologists who had close links to the Institute have died during the past year. Brief obituaries are given here and reference made to some of the obituaries available elsewhere.

How to Cite: French, J. (2018). Obituaries. Archaeology International, 21(1).

Rights: © 2018 The Author(s)



Published on
05 Dec 2018
Peer Reviewed

Joanne Elizabeth Cutler (1962–2018)

Jo Cutler (Figure 1) was an Aegean and Mediterranean prehistorian whose research focused on textile production, weaving technology and techniques, craft learning, technological innovation, cultural interaction, acculturation, social change and gendered production.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Jo Cutler in the storerooms at Miletus in Turkey in 2010 (Photo: Margarita Gleba).

Jo joined the Institute as a mature BA Archaeology student in 2002 while also enrolled in an Open University BA in Humanities with Classical Studies, which she completed concurrently with her UCL BA and MA degrees. She received First Class honours on both BAs and a Distinction for her MA in the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

Jo completed her PhD, Crafting Minoanisation: Textiles, Crafts Production and Social Dynamics in the Bronze Age Southern Aegean in 2011. This focused on defining variable patterns of interaction between communities on Bronze Age Crete and those across the southern Aegean. She critically analysed this process though the medium of textile technologies, techniques and production patterns; to establish a Cretan backdrop, she conducted systematic comparative research on Bronze Age textile production on Crete itself.

In 2009, Jo began a fruitful and effective collaboration with researchers at the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Textile Research (CTR) at the University of Copenhagen, contributing to their ‘Tools and Textiles, Texts and Contexts’ research programme. She followed her PhD with several post-doctoral projects, funded by the Michael Ventris Award (2012), the Institute for Aegean Studies Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2013) and a Marie-Curie/Gerda Henkel Foundation Intra-European Postdoctoral Fellowship, at the CTR (2013–15). From 2015, Jo was a Research Associate on Margarita Gleba’s ERC project ‘Production and Consumption: Textile Economy and Urbanization in Mediterranean Europe 1000–500 BCE (PROCON)’, initially at the Institute, later at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University. This gave her the opportunity to extend her comparative studies geographically across the northern Mediterranean, and chronologically down into the first millennium.

In addition to fieldwork while a student in the UK, Italy, Cyprus and Greece, Jo participated in Institute field projects in Greece: the Kythera Island Project (2004–07), the Antikythera Survey project (2005) and the Knossos Urban Landscape Project (2005–17). Through her specialist work for the latter, she was an Honorary Affiliate of the Institute from 2012.

Jo was an engaging teacher and contributed to courses at the Institute, Birkbeck College, Kent University, the University of Copenhagen and Cambridge University.

Todd Whitelaw

Further obituaries can be found at:

Vera Evison (1918–2018)

Vera Ivy Evison (Figure 2) was born and lived all her life in London. She had a successful academic career at a time when this was very difficult for a woman who entered university as a mature student, and did not possess independent means. She supported herself while studying for a London BA in English Language and Literature by working as a secretary for Kathleen Kenyon at the London University Institute of Archaeology. In 1947, she went to Stockholm and studied archaeology with Nils Aberg, beginning her interest in the European Migration period (4th–7th centuries AD), and acquiring knowledge of the Scandinavian languages. In the summer of 1948, she worked on Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations at Sabratha in Tripolitania (now Libya). Vera had a long teaching career at Birkbeck College, from appointment as part time lecturer in 1947 to final promotion to professor in 1979, at a time when there were still few women professors, especially in archaeology. She retired in 1983, but continued to research, with her catalogue of Anglo-Saxon glass vessels in the British Museum appearing in 2004.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Vera Evison (left) at the excavations at Dover Buckland, Kent (Photo: Keith Parfitt).

Her research was characterised by the breadth of her knowledge of continental archaeology. Connections between Anglo-Saxon England and Germany and Scandinavia have long been recognized but Vera Evison showed that there was also considerable interaction between southern Britain and northern France and the Low Countries, the areas under Frankish control in the post-Roman period. Her excavation at Dover Buckland in Kent, a very large and richly furnished cemetery, was a turning point in the recognition of the strong element of Frankish material culture in Kent. Her reputation has perhaps been stronger abroad than at home: the festschrift published in 2016 appeared in a French series, with a French co-editor and four French authors amongst the contributors. She was a memorable teacher, rigorous, demanding, and sometimes acerbic, but her single-minded devotion to her subject was communicated with encouragement and enthusiasm. Former students recognize they owe her great academic debts: she paid great attention to the precise details of archaeological evidence, especially of artefacts, and broadened the horizons of those she taught beyond the limits of the British Isles.

Catherine Hills and Leslie Webster

Further obituaries can be found at:

Ian Glover (1934–2018)

Ian Glover (Figure 3) was a prominent scholar with wide reaching interests that included the emergence of the Cham civilisation in Central Vietnam, the development of Indic influences in Southeast Asia and the early trade networks between South and Southeast Asia. It was fortunate for Southeast Asian archaeology that Ian Glover, who initially intended to study ancient history in the University of Sydney, switched to archaeology due to conflicting schedules with his film editor job at a television station. He was awarded his PhD in 1972 from the Australian National University, Canberra, but two years prior to this, was appointed Lecturer in the Prehistory of South and Southeast Asia in the Institute of Archaeology, University of London. He remained at the Institute of Archaeology until 1996 where he was Head of Department of Prehistory (1988–1991), taught in the undergraduate and Masters programs, including courses on the Prehistory of South and Southeast Asia, and supervised a number of research students working for Ph.D. degrees in South and Southeast Asian archaeology.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Ian Glover (Photo: Pia Conti).

His research in Southeast Asia started with fieldwork in East Timor for his PhD and extended as his career progressed into major excavations in South Sulawesi (Ulu Leang 1 & 2, Leang Burung 2), central Thailand (Ban Don Ta Phet) and central Vietnam (Trà Kiệu and Gò Cấm). He was editor for World Archaeology (1972–1992), the founder of the Indonesia Circle at SOAS and an active board member in other organisations such as the Councils of the Prehistoric Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Council of the Siam Society. However, he will be most remembered for being a founder of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA). Ian also has a long list of publications including editor and co-editor of four of the EurASEAA conference proceedings, and a regional archaeological volume co-edited with Peter Bellwood ‘Southeast Asia: From prehistory to history.’

Once retired from formal teaching, he continued to give talks and lectures in academic circles such as at SOAS and universities and museums in Asia. He has been a source of inspiration and support to the new generation of scholars and has been generous with his ideas and extensive library to many of today’s archaeologists working in Southeast Asia.

Cristina Castillo

Gordon Hillman (1943–2018)

Gordon Hillman, emeritus Reader in Archaeobotany, passed away on the 1st July 2018. He is survived by his daughter Thilaka, and three grandsons. Gordon Hillman (Figure 4) was a pivotal figure in the development of archaeobotany at the Institute of Archaeology, and through his research, publications and teaching he had a major influence on the direction of the field worldwide, especially with regards to the origins of plant domestication in the Near East and late hunter-gatherer economies.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Gordon Hillman pounding acorns (Photo: Dorian Q Fuller).

Gordon was already an accomplished botanist at a young age. One of his first jobs was working for the Botany department of the Natural History Museum (London) in 1962 before pursuing a Botany degree in Cardiff. Gordon’s ground-breaking career in Archaeobotany began in 1969, with a year of training in Mainz, Germany with Dr. Maria Hopf. Gordon subsequently, and for nearly five years, lived in Turkey carrying out ethnobotanical research, and becoming familiar with traditional farming and regional ecology (Hillman 2003). He also built up a major seed reference collection, which remains at the core of archaeobotanical research at UCL and is held in replicate at the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara (BIAA). He carried out flotation at various excavations of BIAA, such as at the sites of Can Hassan III and Asvan. This period was critical in Gordon’s pioneering of an ethnoarchaeological approach to archaeobotanical assemblage formation through the study of traditional crop-processing (Hillman 1973, 1984). It was also when he joined the rescue excavations in northern Syria at Tell Abu Hureyra, which was to prove a seminal research project, providing insights into broad-spectrum wild plant use in the Late Pleistocene, plausible evidence for early pre-domestication cultivation and the nature of early integrated agro-pastoral economies (Moore et al. 2000).

Gordon joined the Institute of Archaeology in 1981, becoming a full-time lecturer in archaeobotany in 1983. David Harris was then Professor of Human Environment, and together they launched an MSc in Bioarchaeology which offered intensive practical training in archaeobotany. A generation of professional archaeobotanists began their careers through this degree. Gordon’s enthusiasm for archaeobotany was contagious and his support for his students and colleagues was legendary.

Gordon Hillman retired from UCL as Reader in Archaeobotany in 1998, but continued his research, especially on potential wild plants collected and processed by hunter-gatherers, as an Honorary Visiting Professor at UCL. Part of this work inspired the BBC program Wild Foods in which he appeared alongside Ray Mears, gathering and processing various plant foods in Britain, in France, and in Australia with aborigines. The program also produced a colourful book Wild Foods (2007). Gordon continued to work on a comprehensive compilation of wild plant foods of Britain up until his death (which is being gradually made available online at: A volume of studies in honour of Gordon Hillman was published in 2009 (Fairbairn and Weiss 2009).

Dorian Q Fuller

Further obituaries can be found at:

Eric Uphill (1929–2018)

Eric Parrington Uphill (Figure 5) made a decisive contribution to Egyptology, building on early fieldwork with substantial research output, and an exemplary dedication to extramural teaching. After reading History and Archaeology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1950–1954), Eric went on to study Egyptology with Stephen Glanville, before moving to post-graduate research at the UCL Department of Egyptology under Professor W. B. Emery, Sudan Archaeology specialist Anthony Arkell, and the eminent philologist Raymond Faulkner. He participated in Egypt Exploration Society excavations directed by Emery at Saqqara, Egypt (1954–55), and Buhen, Sudan (1959–60). From 1960, he served as Lecturer in Egyptology, archaeology and hieroglyphs at Birkbeck College, continuing as an examiner from 1995. Remarkable publications accompanied these three decades of teaching. His series of articles on the main kingship festival remain standard points of references in debates on that central but enigmatic event (1965). His 1972 analysis of the palace was years ahead of other “Court Society” approaches to the Egyptian evidence. He co-edited the international Who Was Who in Egyptology (1972–1995). His monographs on dismembered temple sites powerfully recreate the pyramid complex at Hawara, thought to be the Labyrinth described by Greek historians, and the royal city Per-Ramses (1984), which he effectively mapped in anticipation of current UCL fieldwork at that site. His 1990–1 paper on the longest preserved Egyptian papyrus succinctly demolished the Eurocentric Church-State model of ancient Egypt, by showing that it lists donations of Ramses III not to the temples of the main god, but to the maintenance of the king’s own cult. Such research fundamentally changes our perceptions of an ancient society.

Figure 5
Figure 5

Eric Uphill in the UCL Department of Egyptology, 1960 (Photo: UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology).

Throughout his career, Eric was an essential figure in London Egyptology. As a student he assisted with unpacking the Petrie Egyptian collection after wartime storage in 1957 and remembered ‘tray-loads of Badarian and other pottery carried at high risk across the courtyard’ (Janssen 1992: 77). In 1963, he attended the 100th birthday party for legendary Egyptologist and folklorist Margaret Murray. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Petrie Museum, served from 1965 to 1985 on the Egypt Exploration Society Committee, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology. On over forty visits to Egypt, including many as guest lecturer, he was often accompanied by his wife Patricia Ann Read. To Pat we offer our condolences at the passing of a scholar who is now with the “excellent spirits of the sun”.

Stephen Quirke and Jan Picton

Alison Ruth Weisskopf (1960–2018)

Alison Weisskopf (1960–2018), passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer in January 2018. She is survived by her son Max and husband Alan. Alison was a post-doctoral research associate in archaeobotany supported through three successive NERC research grants, after completing her PhD at UCL in 2009. Her research work on phytoliths, especially from East and Southeast Asia, has left a substantial legacy. She took a distinctive ecological assemblage approach to reconstructing rice cultivation ecology as well as crop processing (Weisskopf et al. 2014, 2015). She made lasting empirical contributions on archaeological research in China, Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia), and South Asia (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India), as well as ethnobotanical fieldwork in India, Thailand, and Laos) and archaeological projects (in China, Bangladesh, Fiji). She is missed by friends and colleagues in many international collaborations.

Alison (Figure 6) joined UCL as a BSc Archaeology student in 2000, as a mid-life career reboot. She demonstrated a strong affinity for environmental archaeology and archaeobotany from the beginnings of her studies. After BSc dissertation on phytoliths (“A study of the phytoliths from the late Bronze Age site of Krasnoe Smarskoe, Samara Valley, Russia, and the information they provide on agro pastoral economies and environments”), she received an AHRC scholarship for her MSc, for which she completed a dissertation combining phytoliths and macro archaebotanical remains from the South Indian Neolithic site of Sanganakallu. She began her PhD in 2005, again funded through an AHRC studentship. She submitted her PhD thesis, “Vegetation, agriculture and social change in Neolithic north central China, a phytolith study”, in 2009 and was awarded her doctorate in 2010, later published (Weisskopf 2014).

Figure 6
Figure 6

Alison Weisskopf on fieldwork in India (Photo: Dorian Q Fuller).

In 2009 she took up a post-doctoral research associate position funded through the NERC project ‘The Identification of Rice in Prehistory’ (2009–2012), and continued her work through two additional NERC grants (Fuller and Weisskopf 2011; Fuller et al. 2016). During an intermission between the first and second NERC projects she secured funding through a British Academy small grant to explore comparisons between phytoliths and diatoms in rice paddy soils, and received a travel grant from the Thai Ambassador to the UK for ethnobotanical fieldwork on non-rice plant use in Thailand. Her research, and her development of phytolith approaches to rice cultivation ecology, was central to these projects and their success. Her unique experience and expertise meant that she attracted archaeological collaborations and samples for analysis from an even wider range of countries. She authored 29 academic papers/book chapters, in addition to one monograph. Her work offers a legacy for phytolith archaeology.

Dorian Q Fuller


1  Fairbairn, A and Weiss, E (eds) 2009 From Foragers to Farmers. Papers in Honour of Gordon C. Hillman, Oxford: Oxbow Books.

2  Hillman, G C 1973 Crop husbandry and food production: modern models for the interpretation of plant remains. Anatolian Studies, 23: 241–244. DOI:

3  Hillman, G C 1984 Interpretation of archaeological plant remains: the application of ethnographic models from Turkey. In: van Zeist, W and Casparie, W A (eds) Plants and Ancient Man. Studies in Palaeoethnobotany. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema. pp. 1–41.

4  Hillman, G C 2003 Investigating the start of cultivation in western Eurasia: studies of plant remains from Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates. In: Ammerman, A J and Biagi, P (eds) The Widening Harvest: the Neolithic Transition in Europe: Looking Back, Looking Forward. Boston, MA: Archaeological Institute of America. pp. 75–97.

5  Moore, A M T, Hillman, G C and Legge, A J 2000 Village on the Euphrates: From Foraging to Farming at Abu Hureyra. New York: Oxford University Press.

6  Janssen, R M 1992 The First Hundred Years: Egyptology at University College London 1892–1992. London: Routledge.

7  Uphill, E 1965 The Egyptian sed-festival rites. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 24: 365–383. DOI:

8  Uphill, E 1972–1995 Who Was Who in Egyptology, 2nd revised edition with Dawson, W; 3rd revised edition with Bierbrier, M L. London: The Egyptian Exploration Society.

9  Uphill, E 1984 The Temples of Per Ramesses. Oxford: Arris and Phillips.

10  Uphill, E 1972 The Concept of the Egyptian Palace as a “Ruling Machine”. In: Ucko, P, Tringham, R, and Dimbleby, G (eds) Man, Settlement and Urbanism. London: Duckworth. pp. 731–734.

11  Uphill, E 1990–1991 Papyrus Harris: a funerary endowment? Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum, 4: 41–48.

12  Fuller, D Q and Weisskopf, A R 2011 The Early Rice Project: from Domestication to Global Warming. Archaeology International, 13(14): 44–51. DOI:

13  Fuller, D Q, Weisskopf, A R and Castillo, C C 2016 Pathways of Rice Diversification across Asia. Archaeology International, 19: 84–96. DOI:

14  Weisskopf, A R 2014 Millets, Rice and Farmers: Phytoliths as Indicators of Agricultural, Social and Ecological Change in Neolithic and Bronze Age Central China. BAR International Series 2589. Oxford: Archaeopress.

15  Weisskopf, A R, Harvey, E, Kingwell-Banham, E, Kajale, M, Mohanty, R, and Fuller, D Q 2014 Archaeobotanical implications of phytolith assemblages from cultivated rice systems, wild rice stands and macro-regional patterns. Journal of Archaeological Science, 51: 43–53. DOI:

16  Weisskopf, A R, Qin, L, Ding, J, Ding, P, Sun, G and Fuller, D Q 2015 Phytoliths and rice: from wet to dry and back again in the Neolithic Lower Yangtze. Antiquity, 89(347): 1051–1063. DOI: