Dr Alan Williams BSc(Hons), PhD, CEng, ARSM, MIMMM

Honorary Research Fellow Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


Personal Statement

Alan Williams graduated with a PhD in Archaeology in 2018 from the University of Liverpool based on archaeometallurgical and geoarchaeological studies of the Great Orme Bronze Age copper mine. He originally graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Mining Geology, from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London in 1974 where he was awarded the Clement Le Neve Foster Prize. After working in metal mining and exploration (Cornish tin mining, Canadian gold and Swedish uranium exploration) he had a long research career with the international glass company, Pilkington (now NSG). Until 2012 he was chief geologist and head of the Raw Materials and Glass Compositions Department at the Pilkington European research centre responsible for global sourcing of glass-making raw materials in over 20 countries and developing new glass compositions. From 2012 he started to apply his expertise in geochemistry, ore geology, mineralogy and pyrotechnology to outstanding archaeological challenges in the field of prehistoric metal mining and smelting. He had previously published two books and several articles on historic metal mining. In his PhD thesis he produced strong evidence that the Great Orme copper mine in Wales was a major producer in the Bronze Age and that its metal was involved in long-distance trade/exchange networks reaching from Brittany to Sweden. He is now developing collaborative projects to characterise Cornish and Devonian tin ores and artefacts with the objective of establishing the reach and importance of that major tin source in the European Bronze Age. He is also developing experimental archaeological skills in copper and tin smelting.