Philip Riris

Dr Philip Riris

  • Senior Lecturer in Archaeological/(Paleo) Environmental Modelling
  • Christchurch House C134, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I am a Lecturer in Archaeological & Palaeoenvironmental Modelling at the Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions. Previously I held postdoctoral fellowships at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

I earned my PhD in 2015 from the University of Southampton, focusing on long-term patterns of hunter-gatherer land use in northern Argentina. I specialize in the archaeology and historical ecology of tropical South America, with a focus on quantitative analyses and computational modelling. I have conducted fieldwork in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Oman.

My two principal areas of research focus on: 1) coupled human-environmental systems, and 2) computational approaches to rock art and sacred landscapes. I maintain an especial interest in spatial analysis and agent-based modelling, drawing especially on physical geography, quantitative ecology, and complex adaptive systems to understand past human societies. Recently, I have focused on the interface between climate change and ancient demography...



Journal Articles


  • Riris, P., 2016. Monumentality and territoriality in intermediate societies: An example from the eastern La Plata basin. In: Goepfert, N., Vasquez, S., Clement, C. and Christol, A., eds. LAS SOCIEDADES ANDINAS FRENTE A LOS CAMBIOS PASADOS Y ACTUALES: Dinámicas territoriales, crisis, fronteras y movilidades. Paris: Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos (IFEA), Laboratoire d'Excellence Dynamiques Territoriales et Spatiales, 287-231.


  • Comparative Legacies of Human Land Use in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (Arts and Humanities Research Council, 01 Feb 2023). Awarded
  • Connected Communities: Network approaches to rock art in lowland South America (British Academy, 01 Sep 2018). Completed
  • Ancient Networks of Art: towards a relational study of pre-Columbian iconography across the Orinoco Interaction Sphere (Sainsburys Research Unit, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 01 Jan 2017). Completed

External Responsibilities

  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, Honorary Research Fellow (2018)
  • Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Visiting Collaborator (2015-2017)
  • Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano, Foreign Investigator (2013)

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External Media and Press