|Gordon Hillman carrying out experimental paddle|
harvesting of wild einkorn wheat in Wales, ca. 1980
Gordon's ground-breaking career in Archaeobotany began in 1969, with a year of training in Mainz, Germany with Dr. Maria Hopf, who at that time was studying plant remains from Jericho. Gordon subsequently, and for nearly five years lived in Turkey carrying out ethnobotanical research, building up a seed reference collection and carrying out flotation at various excavations of the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara, such as at the sites of Can Hassan III and Asvan. This period was critical in Gordon’s pioneering of a ethnoarchaeological approach to archaeobotanical assemblage formation through the study of traditional crop-processing. It was also the period when much of the core seed reference collection was put together for both the BIAA and the Institute of Archaeology. It was also in this period that he came to the attention of Andrew Moore who was embarking on rescue excavations in northern Syria at Tell Abu Hureyra, which was to prove a seminal research project for Gordon, 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.
|George Willcox and Gordon Hillman examining fieldweeds near Asvan in central Turkey, ca. 1977|
|Gordon photographing flowers during the IWGP |
excursion near Girona, Spain (2004)
Gordon was an inspiration to his students, his colleagues, and well beyond through his publications and TV appearances. He was always a thoughtful, provocative and supportive senior colleague that will be dearly missed. I always had much learn at his feet.
Several excellent obituaries have been published in major newspapers and journals, including The Guardian,
The Times, and Nature Plants. The University of Reading has a more Reading-focused account.
|Gordon Hillman, Mary Anne Murray, David Harris, and Sue Colledge,|
in office 311, UCL Institute of Archaeology 1998/99
|Ehud Weiss, Ramon Buxo, Ahmed Fahmy and Gordon Hillman, in Girona |
during the 2004 International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany
|Dorian Fuller, Gordon Hillman, George Willcox in Girona at the I.W.G.P. 2004|
This photo (below) was found dusty in the back of drawer in the UCL archaeobotany lab. I never got to ask Gordon about it,but I think it is from an early I.W.G.P., in Budapest(?), 1969 or 1971(?). A young Gordon Hillman is in the Middle; also pictured Heather Jarmon (left) and Prof Schulz-Motel (right).
|A picnic in Pevensey, Marsh, 2009: Andy Fairbairn, Dorian Fuller, Gordon Hillman, Ehud Weiss|
|Receiving instruction from Gordon Hillman on the art of acorn processing (June 2010)|