Head and shoulder photo of Fabio Silva.

UWTSD Home  -  Environment, Archaeology, History and Anthropology  -  Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture  -  Staff Profiles  -  Fabio Silva

Dr. Fabio Silva BSc Hons, MA, PhD


E-mail: f.silva@uwtsd.ac.uk

I am a Tutor in the Sophia Centre. My responsibilities include the conception and delivery of the Skyscapes, Cosmology and Archaeology module (AHAN7043) of the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, as well as contributing to other taught modules. In addition, I supervise MA dissertation and PhD students on Skyscape Archaeology related topics.

  • International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture (ISAAC)
  • The Prehistoric Society
  • Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
  • Portuguese Association of Archaeological Investigation (APIA)
  • European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC)
  • Egypt Exploration Society (EES)

I am developing the concept and methodology of Skyscape Archaeology through both my teaching and editorship of the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology. My related interests include:

  • Prehistory
  • Megalithic Monuments
  • Human Dispersals
  • Skyscape Archaeology
  • Archaeological Theory
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Ritual
  • Alternate Ontologies

My main research interest is in how humans perceive their environment and use that knowledge to time and adjust their cosmological, religious, social and economic behaviours. This steered me, at the regional scale, to skyscape and landscape archaeology and, at larger space and time scales, to the study of culture-dependent dispersal dynamics and their modelling. 

My research in the field of skyscape archaeology has focused on the surveying and interpretation of the orientation of prehistoric monuments. Fieldwork has concentrated in western Iberia and the UK, but also elsewhere. My approach involves a combination of landscape and skyscape methodologies, as well as multidisciplinary triangulation, and a thorough grounding on the archaeological record.

In parallel, I have also been developing and applying new quantitative methods to the analysis of radiocarbon datasets, with particular attention to the modelling of prehistoric dispersals at continental levels. I have worked on the dispersal of farming in Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, with other projects taking shape. 

My current and recent research projects include: 

Late Glacial Human Range Expansions (2016 – ongoing)

                            Role: Fellow

                            Funding: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

Prehistoric Skyscapes: Astronomy, Landscape and Megalithism in western Iberia (2012 – ongoing)

                            Role: Principal Investigator

                            Funding: National Geographic Society / Waitt Foundation (W336-14)

The impact of evolving rice systems from China to Southeast Asia (2013 – 2016)

                            Role: Research Associate

                            Funding: National Environmental Research Council (NE/K003402/1)

Welsh Monastic Skyscapes (2014 – 2016)

                            Role: Co-Investigator

                            Funding: Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture

Commercial and Consultancy Activities

Co-Editor of Journal of Skyscape Archaeology (2014 – ongoing)

Review Editor of Frontiers in the Digital Humanities, Digital Archaeology Specialty Section (2015  – ongoing)

Assistant and Reviews Editor of the journal Culture and Cosmos (2012 – 2015)

Editorial Board, Culture and Cosmos (2015 – present)

Books and Journal Special Issues:

F Silva, K Malville, T Lomsdalen and F Ventura (eds, 2016). The Materiality of the Sky. Lampeter: Sophia Centre Press.

M Rappenglück, B Rappenglück, N Campion and F Silva (eds, 2016). Astronomy and Power: How Worlds are Structured. Oxford: BAR Publishing (BAR International series S2794).

F Silva (ed, 2015). Landscape, Seascape and Skyscape [themed journal issue]. Culture and Cosmos 17(2).

F Pimenta, N Ribeiro, F Silva, N Campion, A Joaquinito, L Tirapicos (eds, in 2015). SEAC 2011 Stars and Stones: voyages through archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. Oxford: Archaeopress (BAR International series S2720).

F Silva and N Campion (eds, 2015). Skyscapes: The role and importance of the sky in archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Book Chapters:

F Silva and J Steele (2015). Two-dimensional models of human dispersals: tracking reaction-diffusion fronts on heterogeneous surfaces. In Barceló, J. A. and Bogdanovic, I. (ed) Mathematics and Archaeology. London: CRC Press, 416–430.

F Silva (2015). The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology: an introduction. In Silva, F and Campion, N. (eds) Skyscapes: the role and importance of the sky in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 1–7.

F Silva (2015). The View from Within: a ‘time-space-action’ approach to Megalithism in Central Portugal. In Silva, F and Campion, N. (eds) Skyscapes: the role and importance of the sky in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 120–139.

F Silva (2013). Astronomia e Paisagem no Megalitismo do Norte do País: Problemas e Perspectivas. In Associação dos Arqueólogos Portugueses (eds) Arqueologia em Portugal - 150 anos. Lisboa: AAP, pp. 427–433.

Journal Articles:

B Brady, D Gunzburg and F Silva (2016). The Orientation of Cistercian Churches in Wales: a cultural astronomy case study. Cîteaux – Commentarii cistercienses 67(3-4): 275-302.

O Maeda, L Lucas, F Silva, K-I Tanno and DQ Fuller (2016). Narrowing the Harvest: Increasing sickle investment and the rise of domesticated cereal agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. Quaternary Science Reviews 145: 226–237. doi link

CJ Stevens, C Murphy, R Roberts, L Lucas, F Silva and DQ Fuller (2016). Between China and South Asia: a Middle Asian corridor of crop dispersal and agricultural innovation in the Bronze Age. The Holocene 26(10): 1541–1555. doi link

P Jordan, K Gibbs, P Hommel, F Silva and J Steele (2016). Pottery in the Old World: Modelling the diffusion of a major technological innovation. Antiquity 90(351): 590-603. doi link

P Roberts, N Boivin, M Petraglia, P Masser, S Meece, A Weisskopf, F Silva, R Korisettar and DQ Fuller (2016) Local diversity in settlement, demography and subsustence across the southern Indian Neolithic-Iron Age transition: site growth and abandonment at Sanganakallu-Kupgal. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 8(3): 575-599. doi link

F Silva (2015). "A Estrela da Serra: o passado de um topónimo”. Zimbro Dez 2015: 28-37.

F Silva (2015). "Once upon a time...": When prehistoric archaeology and folklore converge. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 28(2): 158–175. doi link

F Silva, C Stevens, A Weisskopf, C Castillo, L Qin, A Bevan and DQ Fuller (2015). Modelling the geographical origins of rice cultivation in Asia using the Rice Archaeological Database. PLoS ONE 10 (9): e0137024. doi link

F Silva and L Henty (2015). Editorial. Journal of Skyscape Archaeology 1(1): 1–7. doi link

F Silva and J Steele (2014). New methods for reconstructing dispersal rates and routes from large-scale radiocarbon databases. Journal of Archaeological Science 52: 609–620. doi link

F Silva, J Steele, K Gibbs, P Hommel and P Jordan (2014), Modelling spatial innovation diffusion from radiocarbon dates and regression residuals: the case of early Old World pottery. Radiocarbon 56 (2): 723–732. doi link

T Russell, F Silva and J Steele (2014). Modelling the spread of farming in the Bantu-speaking regions of Africa: an archaeology-based phylogeography. PLoS ONE 9(1): e87854. doi link

F Silva (2014). ’A tomb with a view’: New methods for bridging the gap between land and sky in megalithic archaeology. Advances in Archaeological Practice 2(1), 24–37. doi link

F Pimenta, N Ribeiro, A Joaquinito, A F Rodrigues, A Costa and F Silva (2013). Land, Sea and Skyscape: Two Case Studies of Man-made Structures in the Azores Islands. Culture and Cosmos 17(2), 107–132.

F Silva and R Frank (2013). Deconstructing the Neolithic Myth: The Implications of Continuity for European Late Prehistory. Anthropological Notebooks 19, 223–236.

D Brown, F Silva and R Doran (2013). Education, Archaeoastronomy and the Outdoor Classroom: Lessons from the Past. Anthropological Notebooks 19, 515–528.

F Silva (2013). Landscape and Astronomy in Megalithic Portugal: the Carregal do Sal nucleus and Star Mountain. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 22, 99–114. doi link

F Silva and J Steele (2012). Modeling boundaries between converging fronts in prehistory. Advances in Complex Systems 15 (1-2), 1150005. doi link

F Silva and F Pimenta (2012). The Crossover of the Sun and the Moon. Journal for the History of Astronomy 43 (2), 191–208. doi link

F Silva (2010). A New Survey of Neolithic Dolmens in Central Portugal. Journal of Cosmology 9, pp. 3094-3106.

F Silva and K Koyama (2009). Self-Accelerating Universe in Galileon Cosmology. Physical Review D 80: 121301.

K Koyama, A Padilla and F Silva (2009). Ghosts in asymmetric brane gravity and the decoupled stealth limit. Journal of High Energy Physics 03(2009) 134.

A Cardoso, K Koyama, S Seahra and F Silva (2008). Cosmological perturbations in the DGP braneworld: numeric solution. Physical Review D 77: 083512.

K Koyama and F Silva (2008). Non-linear interactions in a cosmological background in the DGP braneworld. Physical Review D 75: 084040.

Book Reviews:

F Silva (2016). ‘The Archaeology of Darkness’ by Marion Dowd and Robert Hensey (eds). Journal of Skyscape Archaeology 2(2): 277-283.

In 2016 I was awarded the Fifth Carlos Jaschek Award (European Society for Astronomy in Culture SEAC) for “outstanding contributions in the fields of cultural astronomy and archaeoastronomy”.

My work has also been featured in the following media reports: