Tim Williams

Research Interests

  • Urbanism, space syntax, complex societies, recording & analysis of complex stratigraphy, integration of complex data sets, management of archaeological sites and cultural landscapes, World systems theory, Silk Roads.
  • Roman, Levantine, Islamic & Central Asian archaeology.
  • EARTH: Earthen Archaeology Research, Theory and History
  • Conservation & management of archaeological sites. Editor-in-chief of the peer-review journal Conservation & Management of Archaeological Sites and Chair of the International Standards Board of ICAHM.

Current Projects

  • Merv, Turkmenistan - research, site management & conservation of this important Silk Road complex of cities. The current project has a number of over-arching aims: a) To improve our understanding of the survival and potential of the archaeological resource. b) To undertake active research into the cities, to aid in both their management and research. c) To develop the information base upon which decisions about the management and interpretation. d) To develop the local skills base. e) To develop active management of the archaeological resource. f) To make research data available to the widest academic audience.
  • Beirut, Lebanon - since 1994 co-director Beirut Souks excavations, with Professor Helga Seeden (American University of Beirut) and Dominic Perring (York University). The excavations, which ran for three years, recorded a complex Hellenistic to Islamic sequence, exposing several insula of the classical settlement. The results of this project are being prepared for publication, with accompanying digital resources, and a full deposition of the electronic archive with the Archaeological Data Service at York. There will also be popular accounts, in Arabic, French and English. There are ongoing plans for an interpretation centre in Beirut.
  • Silk Roads - academic advisor to UNESCO Serial Transboundary World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Roads. This has included undertaking an ICOMOS Thematic Study of the Silk Roads.

Research Directory Records


  • Beirut, Lebanon - Archaeological Collaboration for Research & Excavation (ACRE); American University of Beirut (AUB); Department of Antiquities, Lebanon; University of York. Additional collaborations with University College Cork & Cambridge University.
  • Merv, Turkmenistan - National Department for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments, Ministry of Culture; 'Ancient Merv' Archaeological Park; CRATerre-EAG (Grenoble); UNESCO; World Monuments Fund; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Getty Conservation Institute.
  • Port Royal, Jamaica - The project began in the late 1980s combining a training project for the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) with an evaluation of the dry land archaeology at Port Royal in advance of proposed development to the town. The main fieldwork project comprised a small excavation to establish the current condition of the resource, to evaluate the impact the proposed development, combined with research to establish the relationship between historic cartographic data and the surviving archaeological evidence. More recently the project has expanded into exploring the conservation of important historic buildings in the town, especially the Old Naval Hospital, and the development of local schools education programmes.

Educational Background

  • 1980 BA Archaeological Studies, Leicester University
  • 2012 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photography: Exploring the Medieval City of Merv, on the Silk Roads of Central Asia. Archaeology International 15, 54-68. Available at: <http://www.ai-journal.com/article/view/244>
  • 2011 The curious tale of Preah Vihear: the process and value of World Heritage nomination, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 13(1), 1-7
  • 2010 Melaka and World Heritage Status, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 12(3), 197–208
  • 2008 (with Swain, H) The population of Roman London, in Clark, J et al (eds) Londinium and beyond: essays on Roman London and its hinterland for Harvey Sheldon. York: CBA Research Report 156, 33-40
  • 2008 The landscapes of Islamic Merv, Turkmenistan: Where to draw the line?, Internet Archaeology 25 http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue25/merv_index.html
  • 2008 (with Nicholas Stanley-Price and Gaetano Palumbo) Managing archaeological sites and landscapes, Archaeology International 2007/8 (11)
  • 2007 The city of Sultan Kala, Merv, Turkmenistan: communities, neighbourhoods and urban planning from the eighth to the thirteenth century. In Bennison, A.K., Gascoigne, A. (eds.) Cities in the pre-modern Islamic world: the urban impact of religion, state and society, London: Routledge, 42-62
  • 2007 Niuheliang, Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China: strategies for the management of a complex cultural landscape. In Pomeroy-Kellinger, M., Scott, I. (eds.) Recent developments in research and management at World Heritage Sites. Oxford Archaeology Occasional Paper 16 series. Oxford: Oxford Archaeology, 55-64
  • 2006 (with Sjoerd van der Linde ) Archaeological site management: theory, strategies and implementation for the archaeological landscapes of Jericho, in Nigro, L & Taha, H (eds) Tell-es Sultan/Jericho in the context of the Jordan Valley: site management, conservation and sustainable development. Rome: La Sapienze expeditions to Palestine & Jordan: 111-144
  • 2006 (with Dominic Perring & Reuben Thorpe) The Beirut Souks excavations. in Jennings,S. (ed.) Vessel glass from Beirut: BEY006, 007 and 045. Archaeology of the Beirut Souks, Berytus series. Series edited by Perring,D., Seeden,H. and Williams,T.D.. Beirut: American University of Beirut, 8-26. ISBN: 0067-6105
  • 2006 The current situation of Cultural Resource Management in the UK, The World of Cultural Heritage, Japan 22, 4-7
  • 2004 Conservation issues of Ancient Merv monuments, MIRAS, 14: 140-1
  • 2003 (with Kurbansakhatov, K) The Ancient Merv project, Turkmenistan: preliminary report on the second season (2002), Iran 41: 139-170
  • 2003 Ancient Merv, Turkmenistan: research, conservation and management at a World Heritage Site, Archaeology International: 40-3
  • 2003 Water and the Roman city: life in Roman London, in Wilson, P (ed) The archaeology of Roman towns: studies in honour of John S Wacher, Oxbow Books: 242-250.
  • 2002 (with Kurbansakhatov, K) The Ancient Merv project, Turkmenistan: preliminary report on the first season (20021), Iran 40: 9-57
  • 2002 (with Dare, P, Herrmann, G & Ziebart, M) Acquisition, registration and application of IKONOS space imagery for the World Heritage Site at Merv, Turkmenistan, in Proceedings of the Space Applications for Heritage Conservation at the International Space University, Strasbourg
  • 2002 First interim report of the Ancient Merv project, Iran
  • 2002 Ancient Merv: Queen of Cities, World Heritage, 24, 4-15, UNESCO
  • 1999 Exploring our Past 1998: implementation plan, English Heritage.
  • 1998 (with Perring, D, Seeden, H & Sheehan, P) 'Archaeological Excavations in the Souks Area of Downtown Beirut. Interim Report of the AUB Project BEY 006 1994-1995', Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises, Directorate General of Antiquities of Lebanon.
  • 1997 English Heritage research agenda, English Heritage.
  • 1996 Archaeological Excavations in the Souks Area of Downtown Beirut 1994-1995: Interim Report. http://www.acrearchaeology/windows/index.htm
  • 1996 (with Perring, D) 'Archaeological Work on the Souks Site, Beirut Central District', National Museum News, 3, 22-24.
  • 1995 (with Seeden, H., Perring, D) Urban Archaeology '94: Beirut, Directorate General of Antiquities, Lebanon. English, French and Arabic editions.

Current Students

  • Dean Sully Conserving culture in the historic environment (second supervisor Beverley Butler)
  • Anna Maria Rossi Making Archaeology Abroad. A postcolonial perspective in Malta (second supervisor Dean Sully)
  • Reuben Thorpe Urban formation and transformation: Perspectives on social and stratigraphic complexity from Roman urban centres (second supervisor Kris Lockyear)
  • Rui Pang Towards sustainable cultural heritage management in China: an evaluation of systems based on current theory & practice in Han City of Chang'an (second supervisor Tim Schadla-Hall)
  • Gaigysyz Jorayev A comparative study of the roles of tradition and heritage in Post-Soviet Central Asian nation-building (second supervisor Ulrike Sommer)
  • Alia Wallace Integrating presentation into holistic site management: a case-study from the Vesuvian region of Italy (second supervisor Theano Moussouri)
  • Bai Lu Approaches to the conservation of earthen archaeology in China: the design of sustainable shelters and conservation strategies. A case study from Jinsha Archaeological Sites (second supervisor Dean Sully)
  • Hana Koriech Power relations and narratives in the archaeological discipline: how they influence the development of large regional networks. Case studies New York & London (second supervisor Dominic Perring)
  • Hwa Jong Lee Archaeological resource management: developing a holistic model for the management of buried archaeological sites in South Korea (second supervisor Joe Flatman)
  • David Gilbert Islamic ceramic production in the Merv Oasis in the 7th – 13th centuries (joint supervision with Patrick Quinn)
  • Liu Jia Sustainable use of Cultural Heritage in China: historic village management (second supervisor Rodney Harrison)
  • Yu-tz Tung Archaeological site management in Taiwan: the socio-political context of  value-based approaches (second supervisor Henry Cleere)

Second Supervisor

  • Katarzyna Bronk-Zaborowska GIS approaches to cultural heritage management: a case study from Poland (principal supervisor Mark Lake)
  • Niki Savvides Visitor experience and sustainable management of heavily visited sites: the case study of Herculaneum (joint second supervisor with Dean Sully, principal supervisor Kathy Tubb)
  • Beliz Tecirl What is the effectiveness of the recent changes in Turkish regulations concerning the management of archaeological sites? (principal supervisor Karen Wright)

Recently completed students

  • Georgios Alexopoulos (2010) Reconciling living religious heritage with value-based management: The case of Mount Athos, Greece (second supervisor Tim Schadla-Hall)
  • Adi Keinan (2013): Cultural heritage management and the role of archaeological inventories in the Israel-Palestinian conflict (joint supervision with Andrew Bevan)
  • Peter Gould (2014) Putting the Past to Work: Archaeology, community institutions and economic development (principal supervisor Tim Schadla-Hall)
  • Steven Markofsky (2010): Illuminating the Black Sands: Survey and Settlement in the Bronze Age Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan (joint supervision with Andrew Bevan)
  • Ruth Scheidhauer (2011) Cultural heritage interpretation and policy in Kaesong: The possibilities for Inter-Korean rapprochement through shared cultural heritage (second supervisor Tao Wang)
  • Kimberley Te Winkle (2011) Monuments and Voices: cultural resource management in Tibetan Sichuan (second supervisor Henry Cleere)

Recent Masters student dissertations

  • Future past: how those involved in archaeological heritage policy and management in England view the challenges and opportunities of the next 15 years
  • The post-inscription support for World Heritage Sites
  • Community involvement in archaeological projects: Shoreditch Park community and research archaeology dig
  • Local communities, heritage site management and education: how can they be integrated? A case study at Angkor Wat
  • From splendid city to cultural garbage dump: managing the ruined Han dynasty city of Chang’an in China
  • Site management in the Aegean: the TEMPER project and its applicability to the region
  • Kamakura: Planning for urban heritage
  • Interpretation of in-situ archaeological sites in major urban centres: a comparative study of the Guildhall Roman Amphitheatre, London and the Museum of History, Osaka
  • Evaluating the Wiksworth Project: conservation-led regeneration in a Derbyshire market town
  • Improving heritage management practice in the UK: the role of the Heritage Lottery Fund: case-studies from the Roman villa sites of Chedworth, Brading and Fishbourne
  • Visitor experience at historic gardens
  • Erosion and stabilisation of earth slopes on archaeological sites: with a case study from Erk Kala, Turkmenistan.
  • Mudbrick structures at Chan Chan, Peru: visual analysis of past and present conservation efforts

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