Institute of Archaeology


The Silk Roads in Central Asia, in Arches geospatial platform


Silk Roads

The International Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology & Heritage is a partnership between the UCL Institute of Archaeology and North-West University, Xi'an


The International Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology & Heritage is a partnership between the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and North-West University, Xi'an. It aims to act as a transformative centre for international Silk Roads studies, drawing together the many disparate strands of current research, building international collaborations, and undertaking ground-breaking new research on the phenomenon that transformed the world.

Silk Roads logo
The international impact of the Silk Roads extended far beyond trade; whether local or trans-regional, whether low value bulk goods or prestige items. The significance of the Silk Roads lay in the movement of ideas - technologies, artistic styles, belief systems, philosophies, languages, customs and moral values. The centre will undertake comparative research to explore these changes, bringing the ebb and flow of empires and societies, the complexities of environmental adaption and response, the transmission of ideas, the impact of social change and the shaping of the modern world, to the widest possible audience.

Currently extensive archaeological research is taking place along the Silks Roads, in part inspired by the nomination project of the Silk Roads to the UNESCO World Heritage list. East Asia (China, Korea and Japan), Central Asian (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan), Western Asia (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel) and the southern Silk Roads through South Asia (China, Myanmar, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh) are all currently undertaking research. Most recently the Maritime Silk Routes have received growing attention, bringing an even wider range of potential partners to the debate.

This centre hopes to help this growing wealth of scholarship to promote wider dialogue, debate and development.

Please contact Tim Williams or Gai Jorayev if you would like to be involved.

Silk Roads Seminar Series - for early 2021

A joint series organised by the International Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology & Heritage, the Central Asian Archaeological Landscape project (CAAL), and the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA), UCL Institute of Archaeology.  

The series will explore three inter-related themes: archaeology in Central Asia (broadly related to the Silk Roads), the Maritime Silk Routes, and the geopolitics of the Silk Roads today.

The seminars will take place via Zoom (Meeting ID: 992 2337 3036, Passcode: 905838)

Ten Monday seminars commencing at 16:00 GMT:

11/01/2021 Prof Tim Winter (University of Western Australia, Perth) Geocultural Power: The Revival of the Silk Roads in the 21st Century

18/01/2021 Dr Dmitry Voyakin (Director of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies, Samarkand) Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Kazakhstan, including an investigation of Aral Sea Region

25/01/2021 Prof Simon Kaner (Executive Director, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, and Director, Centre for Japanese Studies and University of East Anglia) Nara to Norwich: Art and Belief at the Ends of the Silk Roads

01/02/2021 Dr Helen Persson Swain (freelance) Curating the V&A Stein Collection

08/02/2021 Dr Marco Nebbia (UCL), with Dr Gai Jorayev (UCL) The Central Asian Archaeological Landscape Project: Remote Sensing and Landscape Change

22/02/2021 Dr Veronica Walker-Vadillo (University of Helsinki) Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia: Human-environment Entanglements in Early Modern Maritime Trade Networks

01/03/2021 Dr Bérénice Bellina-Pryce (Maison Archéologie Ethnologie, CNRS & University of Paris-Nanterre) Recent Work on Riverine Ports in Myanmar

08/03/2021 Dr Robert Spengler (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) Seed-Dispersal Mechanisms in Plant Domestication

15/03/2021 Dr June Wang (Associate Professor of Urban Geography in the Department of Public Policy at City University of Hong Kong) The Silk Roads and Geopolitics in Heritage

22/03/2021 Dr Anke Hein (Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford) Human Response to High Altitude Environmental Change on the Eastern Rim of the Tibetan Plateau

Three Friday seminars commencing at 10:00 GMT:

26/02/2021 Prof Himanshu Prabha Ray (Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University & Senior Research Fellow at Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies) Maritime Networks in the Indian Ocean

05/03/2021 Prof Sarah Ward (Visiting Professor of Maritime Archaeology at Dalian Maritime University's Centre for Maritime History and Culture Research) Asian Underwater Cultural Heritage

12/03/2021 Prof MA Jian (Northwest University China) Archaeology in the Eastern Tianshan Mountains