Institute of Archaeology

Prof Tim Williams

Prof Tim Williams

Professor of Silk Roads Archaeology

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2002

Research summary

Urbanism and complex societies along the Silk Roads; Late Antique and Early Medieval Central Asia and the Silk Roads; Management of archaeological sites, cultural routes and landscapes; Recording and analysis of complex stratigraphy, integration of complex data sets.

Director of the UCL/Northwest University (Xi'an) International Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology & Heritage in 2018.

Director of the Ancient Merv Project

Principal investigator of the Central Asian Archaeological Landscape (CAAL) project.

Member of the International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)

Teaching summary


University of Leicester
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1980


Background and research interest in urban archaeology, especially Roman, Islamic & Central Asian. Interested in approaches to complex stratigraphy.

Undertaken a long running research project at Merv, Turkmenistan, since 2001. Recently working on the UNESCO serial transboundary Silk Roads project, including undertaking the ICOMOS Silk Roads thematic study and the Maritime Silk Routes project.

Established the UCL/Northwest University (Xi'an) Silk Roads Research Centre in 2018. Now Principal Investigator of the Central Asian Archaeological Landscape (CAAL) project, which is assiting Central Asian countries to digitise archives and national monument records, to create a strategic resource for the countries and the region.Specialist in archaeological site management.

Learnt much as a seasonal site supervisor at Phil Barker’s excavations at Wroxeter between 1976-1982. Worked for the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust in 1976-7 & 1980, The Colchester Archaeological Trust 1980, and then for the Department of Urban Archaeology (Museum of London) between 1981-1991. Between 1991-2002 was Head of Archaeology Commissions at English Heritage, before joining UCL in 2002.