Institute of Archaeology


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

Silk Roads Centre logo



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.

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.