University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
  • Intranet

Julian Henderson

Li Dak Sum Chair Professor in Silk Road Studies , School of International Studies

Julian Henderson

Personal details


+44 (0)115 951 4840

0115 951 4812

44 (0)115 951 4840


1984-5 Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA

1985-91 Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford

1988-91 Junior Research Fellow, St Cross College, University of Oxford

1991-1995 Lecturer in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Sheffield

1995-97 Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, Nottingham University

1995-2005 National editor of the Journal of Archaeological Science

1997 Visiting Scholar, St. John's College, Oxford University

1997-99 Reader in Archaeological Sciences, University of Nottingham

1999- Full Professor, Chair of Archaeological Sciences, University of Nottingham

1997-2000 Acting Head of the Archaeology Department, Nottingham University

2001-2002 Head of the Archaeology Department, Nottingham University

2003 Edward Clarence Dyason visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne

2004-06 British Academy Research Reader

2005 McGeorge Fellow and Visiting international scholar, University of Melbourne

2008-2009 Head of the School of Humanites, Nottingham University

2008-2013 Honorary visiting Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne

2009-2010 Head of the Archaeology Department, Nottingham University

2010-2012 Director of the Institute of Middles Eastern Studies, Nottingham University

2012- Archaeometry Editor for Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry

I have been on the AHRC and NERC peer review colleges and on the BGS (NERC) Isotope steering group

Expertise Summary

Silk Road, Archaeological Science; Glass Production; Iron Age Europe; Medieval archaeology of the Near East and Western Europe


Teaching and learning

Teaching Summary

I teach and supervise Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.

The undergraduate modules I teach are:

Technology and Production (2nd year), Archaeological Detective- interpreting the dead (2nd year); Through a glass darkly (3rd year) and a new interdisciplinary module, The Silk Road (3rd year). I supervise dissertations based on these modules.

At Masters level I teach and supervise dissertations in Reconstructing ancient technologies and Ancient Glass

I welcome PhD applications that focus on research in aspects of my Silk Road project, aspects of Islamic archaeology, the application of innovative scientific techniques to ancient glass and glazed ceramics in the investigation of trade, technology and provenance in a range of cultural contexts.


Research Summary

I direct the international Silk Road project and welcome enquiries from potential research students that map onto the links between East and West, especially in the Medieval period.

The key Middle Eastern site of Raqqa on the river Euphrates in Syria has provided an excellent focus for wide-ranging interdisciplinary collaborative research:

Landscape, environment and ancient industry in Islamic al-Raqqa (Syria)

. The project has provided a platform for another area of my research: The Provenance of Glass. The combination of isotopic (Nd, Sr, Pb, O) and chemical analysis, especially of plant ash glasses, and of the raw materials used to make them (plant ash and silica- quartz pebbles and sand), is leading to novel insights into ancient glass technologies (the sources of raw materials) and providing a geological provenance for plant ash glasses for the first time. The first detailed scientific analysis of the plants suitable for glass production in the Middle East has been published and that for silica sources is in preparation. Moreover, the research has been extended to include the provenance of early European glass (funded by the British Academy and NERC). Further current research projects include:

This academic year I have given invited public lectures at UCLA (USA) and Koç University (Turkey). During the rest of the academic year I will deliver invited lectures in Vienna at the Austrian archaeological Institute, in Prague at the Institute of Archaeology, in Nanjing University (China) and Nottingham University Ningbo (China).



Recent Publications

  • CRISTINA BOSCHETTI, JULIAN HENDERSON and JANE EVANS, 2017. Mosaic tesserae from Italy and the production of Mediterranean coloured glass (4th century BCE–4th century CE). Part II: Isotopic provenance Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 11, 647-657
  • FUXI GAN, QINGHUI LI and JULIAN HENDERSON, eds., 2016. Recent progress in the scientific research on ancient glass and glaze World Scientific. 
  • JIAN ZHU, HONGJIAO MA, NAISHENG LI and JULIAN HENDERSON, 2016. The provenance of export porcelain recovered from the Nan’ao One: a shipwreck in the South China Sea Antiquity. 90(351), 798-808
  • OIKONOMOU A, HENDERSON J, GNADE M and CHENERY S, 2016. An archaeometric study of Hellenistic glass vessels: evidence for multiple sources Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology. (In Press.)