principal investigator

Tim has a background in urban archaeology, approaches to complex stratigraphy, and archaeological site management. He worked for the Department of Urban Archaeology (Museum of London), between 1981-1991, and then was Head of Archaeology Commissions at English Heritage, before joining the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2002. He has undertaken long running projects in Beirut (Lebanon) & Merv (Turkmenistan). In addition to his role with CAAL, Tim is also Director of the International Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology & Heritage and Director of the Ancient Merv Project.

He is a member of ICOMOS and the International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He undertook the ICOMOS thematic study of the Silk Roads, which moved away from the emphasis on orientalist East-West interaction, exploring the complexity and dynamics of cultural exchange and the pivotal role of Central Asia. This provided the basis for the UNESCO World Heritage nomination strategy for the Silk Roads.

His current research is focused on the development of urbanism along the Silk Roads. Fascinated by urban archaeology, specifically, the lives of the inhabitants (beyond simply the elite and powerful), and the complexity of past societies and how they shaped, and were shaped by, their urban environment. He has been very much influenced by people like Kevin Lynch and Paul Zanker. Avril Cameron’s micro studies provide an on-going context for the work at Merv: water, streets, rubbish, built and unbuilt space, organisation and appropriation, and the overall use of space.

Working in wonderful Beirut (with Dom Perring, Helga Seeden, Assaad Seif, Reuben Thorpe and many other amazing archaeologists) inspired his interests in late antiquity and the early Islamic transformations. Peter Ucko led him down the Silk Roads, and then Paul Wheatley, sadly posthumously, broadened that view to the ‘cities where men pray together’. This wider context, coupled with the longue durée of the Silk Roads, Tertius Chandler’s historical urban populations, and many ideas on trade, exchange and movement, provide part of the context for the current project.


bryan alvey

Having started out life as an archaeologist, Bryan moved into the application of IT systems for the cultural heritage world and now has a wide experience in the development of digital inventories and reporting systems for both museums and archaeology. A long-term consultant for both English Heritage and Historic England, he has an abiding enthusiasm for the utilisation of computing in the service of documenting and protecting heritage sites, and has experience of working with ARCHES, the platform that is enabling the CAAL project to move forward in creating a powerful long-term tool for knowledge transfer and international cooperation. When he is not looking at screens he enjoys his cats, playing guitar, and indulging his love of the Himalaya, eclectic and world music, and footy of course.

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Dmitriy voyakin

Dmitriy was recently appointed director of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies after successfully serving in numerous official positions and working on myriad permanent archaeological such as Otrar, Kayalyk, Akyrtas as well as investigations of archaeological sites on the dry bottom of the Aral Sea. He has been a delegate to the World Heritage Committee for the Republic of Kazakhstan (2014-2017) and UNESCO international expert and member of the National Commission of the RoK for UNESCO and ISESCO since 2018. When he is not facilitating the CAAL project, he is working on a long-term mapping project which is using digital technologies to document and disseminate information about monuments and sites in Kazakhstan. He is fired up by the use of digital technologies in activating appreciation, knowledge, and protection of archaeological heritage



Rui's background in managing archaeological sites in China has provided her with an in-depth knowledge of policy and collaboration between diverse groups of administrative and private individuals. Her current work with the International Centre for Chinese Heritage & Archaeology and the Arcadia-funded project Survey and Digital Documentation of Endangered Temple Wall Paintings in Shanxi has further given her the opportunity to work with prominent researchers and conservators as well as the institutional bodies critical to such endeavours. Additionally, she is working with colleagues from Northwest University (Xi'an, China) on the Study on Interpretation and Presentation along the Silk Roads, Qinghai Corridor Archaeological Survey and its Silk Roads World Heritage Nomination. In 2014 Rui began teaching the MA course Archaeological Heritage Management and was subsequently nominated for the UCLU Student Choice Teaching Award – congrats Rui! Her interpersonal skills have allied professionals and projects with measurable outcomes in the conservation of heritage sites. She is a mentor and guide to students and colleagues as well as converting everyone she encounters into ardent footy fans.


Gai Joryayev

Gai's expertise in heritage management planning and public archaeology in Central Asia has rapidly spread to projects in Africa and the EU and led to collaborative projects with UNESCO, ICOMOS, and UNWTO in addition to development projects with the EU and UNFPA. His is driven by a passion for heritage preservation, capacity building, and development projects in tandem with spatial analysis and modelling. At the Institute of Archaeology he teaches for the master's degree course on heritage management as well as managing UCL's Digital Heritage laboratory and leads UCL research groups on the uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in archaeology…so we call him the drone guy. He has used his expertise in spatial analysis and modelling to contribute to heritage education initiatives. His sparkling personality can be found using the latest technologies anywhere on the planet that will have him.


Ona vileikis

Ona's background in architecture and engineering (and swanky location scouting) coalesced in her passion for large-scale mapping and digital inventories. She is especially excited by the ways in which these tools contribute to policy development, standards and guidelines for documentation and monitoring of heritage management. Ona has experience using geospatial content management systems such as Arches for the monitoring of transnational World Heritage. A result of this work was the development of the BELSPO/UNESCO project 'Silk Roads Cultural Heritage Resource Information System' which together with documentation and risk management strategies, is still in use by Central Asian States Parties and China. She has collaborated widely with regional and local professionals, government officials on documentation and digital technologies. She is an expert member of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Heritage Documentation CIPA and currently International Co-chair for the ICOMOS GA2020 Scientific Symposium in Sydney. She is an active advisor to the UNESCO Silk Roads World Heritage nomination. When she is not attached to a digital device she is hiking…with camera at the ready.

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Marco NEbbia

Marco is a landscape archaeologist with a keen interest in GIS and remote sensing and the application of these technologies to the management of cultural heritage. His passion for capacity building stems from a more fundamental research curiosity about Prehistoric urbanism and the confluence of the local with the global scale of human interaction. With CAAL he will work with our Central Asian partners in developing robust methodologies and uses of GIS technology in documenting archaeological heritage. His love of rock and jazz nearly transcends his love of hiking.


Louise Cooke

Louise specialises in the sustainable management of cultural heritage, with a particular interest in the relationship between ancient and modern uses of vernacular building materials including earthen architecture. Climate change adaptation and resilience has become a key factor in any discussion on the future of heritage, especially in Central Asia where predicted changes in the Third Pole will have lasting impacts on the region. She will contribute to the project on assessing the developing climate and heritage activities, policies, and studies at play in the region which will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamic risks and the potential hazards climate change poses to sites and materials in the region. Given the fact that the entire CAAL team are in love with hiking boots, Louise's musings on boot repair make her one of our favourite people.

Sarah on the move, Navoi, Uzbekistan

sarah forgesson

Sarah is a New Zealand born archaeologist with a deep passion for Oceania and the development of sustainable and representative approaches to heritage management strategies for local communities in the face of climate change. Her doctoral research combines qualitative surveys and GIS to create a specific understanding of how Indigenous groups are working to value and relocate their heritage for a future away from their home lands. These experiences are helping the CAAL project to further investigate the effects of climate change in Central Asia and form a better understanding of the vulnerabilities, resilience, and Disaster Risk Management in the region. Despite her love of nurturing plants (especially tropical ones) her thumb is really more of a pale green. In response to this she gets out in the ocean or on a mountain as often as possible.

high tea in Macao YUM!

Kim te winkle

Kim's previous incarnations include journalism and a fascination for the cultural lives of objects. As a result of her peripatetic lifestyle she is currently interested in the uses of digital technologies in documenting and disseminating knowledge of cultural heritage and the role of the internet and social media in stirring curiosity. Her years of cross-cultural communication experience contribute to long-term community engagement and building partnerships. She is an avid blackberry, and apparently all other berries eater, both in and out of the office.

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liu yunxiao

Yunxiao is currently pursuing a PhD focusing on the management of under researched archaeological sites along the Oases Routes in Xinjiang. This work will contribute to the GIS mapping and analysis of sites in this region as they relate to those of Central Asia, thus creating a larger and more inclusive inventory of what is extant and how cross-border knowledge and collaboration contributes to documentation and protection of sites. Her previous work has included internships at the Dunhuang Research Academy where she examined conservation efforts against destructive disease in the caves and the British Museum. When Yunxiao is not wearing fancy shoes she enjoys exploring mountains in her hiking boots or yoga, sans footwear.


ZHAO zhehao

Zhehao’s (Steven) doctoral research focuses on the management of Maritime Silk Roads sites under the influence of globalisation. He is exploring different approaches in terms of conceptualisation, conservation, interpretation, and World Heritage nomination processes at sites in China and Saudi Arabia as well as others in between. His position at the National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage allows his work building a GIS data platform for underwater sites. As the overland and maritime routes are closely intertwined Zhehao's sea-based research provides the CAAL project with a unique perspective. He will also contribute translation of the ARCHES database thesaurus into Chinese. He is very fond of Chinese food but has an open mind towards British pub cuisine and often orders dishes he's never heard of.

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Escaping a background in finance, Saltanat was bitten by the archaeological bug while volunteering on an archaeological excavation in Mongolia. Her abiding fondness for jigsaw puzzles led her to metallurgy which 'is like a having a conversation with ancient metallurgists and asking them how and why they used this or that ore or how they smelted copper or alloyed bronze'. The Altai mountains are where she likes best to spend her time…investigating everything from Andronovo to Scythian cultures. When she is not running EDS X-ray microanalysis she is singing along with Callas or you know, hiking. Everyone on the CAAL project respects her motto 'begin before you are ready'.

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Federica cilio

Federica's degrees in Classical archaeology and special interest in Roman frontiers in the Middle East led her to further real-life travels where she became increasingly interested in the charm of the unknown. The mystery of untapped knowledge and undiscovered countries that are the past led her to explore through remote sensing the cultures and traditions of the Silk Roads. Her penchant for the road less travelled results in hours of walking and snorkelling until her 'fingers turn spongy'. We all agree with her motto: stay positive, there is a solution for everything.


Victoria Sluka

Victoria's doctoral research focuses on carpets, specifically pile textile technology and how small changes, artisan idiosyncrasies and social constraints affect the structure and design of a finished textile. Statistical photo filtering and 3D modelling enables examination of the distribution of variations and errors thereby creating a better understanding of the wider technological and social context in which individual artisans created their works. This unique research aims to draw new conclusions about technological evolution, transmission and social settings of the weavers. Victoria's interest in Central Asian textiles comes from a more general passion for making things by hand and family ties to the region. Her hands are never idle, and in her spare time she can be found building furniture, weaving carpets, and baking cakes.

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WANG shaohan

Shaohan is just completing her thesis at UCL where she is investigating the serial transboundary protection and coordinated management of nominated sites along the Silk Roads. She is most passionate about visiting the sites and getting familiar with the local cultural scene. Experiencing the relationship between a site and its surroundings and looking into the impact of political and socioeconomic pressures are what drives her curiosity. Interestingly, as a swimmer and theatre goer her life is full of the correspondence between environment and human and between humans in relation to their social environment. She gives us a saying from the Tao Te Ching ‘the supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. It is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao.'


david fallon

David began his fieldwork career in 1986 before attending Saint David’s University College to study archaeology and history. Upon graduating he started a new life as a curator documenting the prehistoric lithic and metalwork collections at Liverpool Museum. Work life led him back to university, this time at Bournemouth, where he took up archaeological project and resource management. His post-graduate diploma did nothing to dissuade him from the peripatetic lifestyle of an excavator. Then in 1997 he relocated across the pond where he was active in the AIA. By 2002 he was back in the UK excavating and directing projects in England and Ireland which led to projects in Turkmenistan, the Sudan, Turkey, Qatar, UAE, Afghanistan, St. Lucia, Lebanon but he just couldn’t stay away from university and in 2015 took an MA in the archaeology and heritage of Asia. Sparked by the archaeological record itself and his own very personal involvement working with a diversity of people, the dissertation was an opportunity to deep dive into the experiences of ordinary people as they are extant in the archaeological record and how a better grasp of their lives can provide a more humanised understanding of urban landscapes. Further inspired by Kevin Lynch and Henri Lefebvre his current research is devoted to developing a digital excavation technique which will enable archaeologists to interact with the people who once inhabited cities and to better understand their everyday lives. His lifelong passion for Two Tone, Ska, Reggae and Soul music resulted in stints as a DJ leading to the organisation and promotion of several Northern Soul all-nighters. At the IoA we are glad he has put his skills to use as founder and convenor of the Central Asian Seminar Group – a symposium in its fourth year.