The Team

Asia Beyond Boundaries is composed of a multidisciplinary team of three Principal Investigators, eight Research Assistants, and twelve Research Collaborators. Based in the Europe, the team’s networks extend across Asia and the USA as well.

Principal Investigators

Michael WILLIS
The British Museum, London
Michael WILLIS is a historian with special interests in South Asia, Tibet and the Middle East. For the project he will be examining the formation of political and cultural networks in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. He has a particular interest in religious orders, monasteries and temples, and the endowments that were established to support these institutions.
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Sam van SCHAIK
The British Library, London
Sam van Schaik studies Buddhism and the history of Central Asia and Tibet in the first millennium. For the project he will be working with other project members on the political functions of Buddhist texts, and will be using manuscript sources to show how Buddhist monks and rulers created networks of shared texts and practices across Asia, with particular attention to the city-states of the Silk Road.
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Nathan W. HILL
The School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Nathan W. Hill is a linguist who works on Sino-Tibetan languages. For the project he will be working with Marc Miyake on the decipherment of the Pyu language and writing a study of the historical phonology of the Burmish languages.
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Research Assistants

Research Assistant 2
Robert Bracey is a numismatist who works on early Indian and Central Asian coinages. For the project he is co-authoring with Joe Cribb a study of the coinages of the Kushan dynasty.
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Gergely HIDAS
Research Assistant 3
Gergely Hidas is an Indologist who works primarily on Sanskrit Buddhist texts. For the project he will be editing unpublished dhāraṇī manuscripts and writing a study of rituals in South Asian Buddhism.
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Research Assistant 4
Marc Hideo Miyake is a linguist specializing in the reconstruction of sound systems from written records of ancient and sometimes extinct languages. His contribution to the project is to decipher inscriptions in the Pyu language, working with Nathan W. Hill on determining the precise nature of this language’s relationship to the Burmish languages.
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Research Assistant 5
Dániel Balogh is an Indologist interested in Sanskrit epigraphy. He works for the project building and maintaining an online database of relevant inscriptions in Indic languages, supplementing his own research with input from other participants such as Elizabeth Cecil and collaborating with British Library staff in developing IT solutions. He will also produce a monograph about the inscriptions studied.
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Research Assistant 6
Lewis Doney is a philologist, studying Tibetan Buddhist historiography. For the project he is working with Michael Willis and Sam van Schaik to investigate the genesis of this genre from a comparative perspective. He will edit a volume entitled History, Identity and Religious Dynamics in Tibet: Textual Archaeology of the dBa’ bzhed Narrative.
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Research Assistant 7
Jason D. Hawkes is an archaeologist specialising in the relationships between religion and urbanism in South Asia. For the project he is working with Michael Willis and partners in India to investigate the archaeological contexts of the spread of Sanskrit culture in India.
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Research Assistant 8
Hans T. Bakker is an Indologist who works on the early history of the Śaiva religion (Pasupata) and the cultural history of North India from the 4th to 7th centuries. He cooperates with colleagues based in Budapest, Csaba Dezsö, Gergely Hidas, and Dániel Balogh in preparing an international workshop on the role of Hunnic tribes in the break-up of the Gupta Empire around AD 500. Together with Peter Bisschop and Elizabeth Cecil he is exploring the development and spread of the Pasupata religion in Western India as recorded in the Skandapurāṇa.
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Gethin REES
GIS Research Curator
Gethin Rees is an archaeologist interested in digital mapping and code. He works with the project’s researchers to make epigraphic, archaeological and other data available using web maps.
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Research Affiliates

Research Affiliate 1
Leiden University, The Netherlands
Peter C. Bisschop is Professor of Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia at Leiden University. For the project he will be working on the Śivadharmaśāstra, a text describing the duties and ritual obligations of lay worshippers of Śiva, to study the formation of early Śaivism as an organised religious movement.
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Research Affiliate 2
Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
Csaba Dezső is an Indologist who works on classical Indian literature. For the project he is working with Csaba Kiss on the recensions and commentaries of Kālidāsa’s Sanskrit epic The Lineage of Raghu (Raghuvaṃśa) and its connections with Indian epic literature and inscriptions.
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Lucas den BOER
Research Affiliate 3
Leiden University, The Netherlands
Lucas den Boer is a PhD student who works on Indian philosophy. In the framework of the project he is preparing a thesis under the supervision of Peter Bisschop and Paul Dundas on Jaina philosophy in the Gupta age, against the background of textual codification and intellectual developments in rival traditions.
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Research Affiliate 4
Institut de recherche pour le développement, France
Anne Casile’s research is in the field of archaeology, focusing on medieval times with an interest in agro-urban and cultural landscape formation in Central India. For the project she will contribute in the field of GIS building and web mapping.
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Research Affiliate 5
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Sven Bretfeld is a historian of religions specialized in South and Central Asia. For the project he is preparing a study of the mutual constitution of nodes within Buddhist translocal networks focused on Anurādhapura as a central hub in and after the Gupta period using the approach of ‘Global History’.
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Research Affiliate 6
Edinburgh University, United Kingdom
Paul Dundas is an Indologist who works on Sanskrit and Prakrit literature and the history of Jainism. For the project he will be supervising Lucas den Boer’s work towards a doctoral dissertation on early Jain philosophical discourse.
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Research Affiliate 7
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Janice Stargardt is an archaeologist working on early urbanism in Southeast Asia, especially at the Pyu city of Śrī Kṣetra, and what new archaeological research there contributes to a new understanding of the synergies of cultural development in India, Central Asia and Burma in the Gupta period. She is also providing primary data for the decipherment of Pyu to Marc Miyake in the form of ink impressions and digital photographs from her extensive collection of Pyu inscriptions.
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Research Collaborators

Ulrich PAGEL
Research Collaborator 1
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom
Ulrich Pagel is a Buddhologist whose more recent publications, including Buddhist Monks in Tax Disputes: Monastic Attitudes towards Revenue Collection in Ancient India (Napoli, 2014), explore the social history of the Buddhist communities in ancient India. He is contributing to the project a further study of the economic factors that shaped the fortunes of the Buddhist Saṅgha during the Gupta era.
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Antonello PALUMBO
Research Collaborator 2
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom
Antonello Palumbo is a historian working on the religious history of ancient and medieval China within the larger Old World context. In conjunction with the project, he is preparing a study on Buddhist eschatology and kingship between India and China in the fourth-fifth century.
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Research Collaborator 3
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Imre Galambos is a Sinologist who works on Chinese manuscripts from Dunhuang. He serves the project as a general Sinological consultant, particularly regarding Chinese Buddhist pilgrimages to India, but also Chinese contacts with South and Central Asia in general.
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Research Associates

Csaba KISS
Research Associate 1
Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
Csaba Kiss, working under the supervision of Csaba Dezső, is preparing an electronic text of the Kashmir recension of the Raghuvaṃśa and Vallabhadeva’s commentary based on manuscript sources. In addition to electronic texts, he aims to produce a critical edition and philological study of the commentary.

Research Associate 2
Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Mattis LIST
Research Associate 3
Centre des Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Orientale, France
Mattis List is a post-doctoral research fellow pursuing an interdisciplinary research project on Chinese Dialect History at the Centre des Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Orientale (CRLAO) and the Institut de Biologie Paris-Seine, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He uses network methods originally designed for applications in evolutionary biology to get new insights into the history of the Chinese dialects. In contrast to pure computational approaches, however, he keeps his research closely connected to traditional historical linguistics. As part of this project, he is collaborating with Nathan W. Hill on the reconstruction of Proto-Burmish.