Professor Alison Betts

MA PhD London, FAHA
Professor of Silk Road Studies

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 2090
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

Website > Phonebook Entry
> The University of Sydney Central Asian Programme

Biographical details

I specialize in the archaeology of the lands along the Silk Roads from the Near East to China. My key interests lie in the study of nomadic peoples. I have worked extensively in eastern Jordan and Central Asia, and currently run major field projects in Uzbekistan and Xinjiang, both of which have been generously supported by ARC Discovery grants. I am also working closely with the Kabul Museum in Afghanistan and have research affiliations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Kashmir.

Research interests

  • Archaeology of ancient Khorezm
  • Early development of the Zoroastrian faith
  • Nomad-state relations
  • Bronze Age of Central Asia and western China
  • Cultural transmissions from Eurasia into China
  • Prehistory of the North Arabian steppe
  • Rock art
  • Hunting traps and water harvesting systems
  • Origins of nomadic pastoralism in the Near East

In the media

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2014

  • The prehistory of Xinjiang, W China; Betts A; DVC Research/Bridging Support Grant.

2013

  • Kingship, Art and Cult Practice: decoding symbolism in an ancient Central Asian Royal City; Grenet F, Betts A, Yagodin V; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2012

  • Central Asia in Antiquity; Betts A, Vicziany M, Wang W, Dodson J, Li X, Bar-Yosef O, Stammler F, Mallory J; DVC Research/Bridging Support Grant.

2008

  • A study of a newly discovered corpus of early Central Asian wall paintings; Yagodin V, Betts A, Kidd F; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2007

  • East meets West: an archaeological study of early contact between China and Eurasia; Betts A, Wu Y, Wu X; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2006

  • East and West: nomadic migrations between Eurasia and China; Betts A; University of Sydney/Research & Development.
  • Post- War reconstruction; A study of lost Buddhist treasures from the Kabul Museum; Betts A; Joukowsky Family Foundation (USA)/Grants Program.

2005

  • Chorasmian temples: an archaeological study if early Zorastrianism and its precursors in central asia; Betts A, Yagodin V; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2002

  • Generic Account Code for travel under ANSTO Australian Synchrotron Research Program_Mr Paul Donnelly (postgraduate student); Betts A; Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation/Australian Synchrotron Research Program.

2001

  • Beduin land use in the Syrian steppe: An ethno-archaeological study; Betts A; DVC Research/Research and Development Scheme: Research and Development (R&D).

2000

  • A study of ancient central asian military architecture in chorasmia from the 6th century bc to the 4th century ad; Betts A; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Small Grants.
  • The early State in ancient Chorasimia: 7th century BC to 7th century AD; Betts A; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Large Research Grants (LRG).

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Books

  • Betts, A., Cropper, D., Martin, L., McCartney, C. (2013). The Later Prehistory of the Badia: Excavations and Surveys in Eastern Jordan. Oxford, UK: Oxbow Books.
  • Khozhaniyazou, G., Helms, S., Betts, A. (2006). The Military Architecture of Ancient Chorasmia. Paris: de Boccard.

Book Chapters

  • Betts, A., Tarawneh, M. (2010). Changing Patterns of Land Use and Subsistence in the Badiyat al-Sham in the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods: new data from Burqu and Bayir. In Jacqueline Dentzer-Feydy and Michèle Vallerin (Eds.), Hauran V: La Syrie du Sud du Neolithique a l'Antiquite tardive, (pp. 69-80). Beirut: Presses de l'ifpo.
  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V. (2009). The Tash-K'irman-Tepe Cult Complex: An Hypothesis for the Establishment of Fire Temples in Ancient Chorasmia. In Parry, Ken (Eds.), Art, Architecture and religion Along the Silk Roads, (pp. 1-19). Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers.
  • Betts, A. (2008). Things To Do With Sheep and Goats: Neolithic Hunter-Forager Herders in North Arabia. In Hans Barnard and Willeke Wendrich (Eds.), The Archaeology of Mobility: Old World and New World Nomadism, (pp. 25-42). California, USA: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.
  • Betts, A. (2007). The Aralo-Caspian Region. In Antonio Sagona, Claudia Sagona (Eds.), Ancient Nomads of the Aralo-Caspian Region, (pp. 1-10). Belgium: Peeters Publishers.
  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V. (2007). The Fire Temple at Tash-k'irman Tepe, Chorasmia. In Joe Cribb & Georgina Herrmann (Eds.), After Alexander: Central Asia Before Islam, (pp. 435-453). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Betts, A. (2006). Chorasmians, Central Asian nomads and Chorasmian military architecture. In Svend Helms (Eds.), The Military Architecture of Ancient Chorasmia, (pp. 131-155). Paris: de Boccard.
  • Betts, A. (2004). Near East: Clay Plastered Skull. In DT Potts and KN Sowada (Eds.), Treasures of the Nicholson Museum. Sydney: Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney.
  • Betts, A. (2001). A Middle Bronze Age Block Mould from Tell Rukeis, Jordan. In Alan Walmsley, Elizabeth Hardy, Katherine Wolrige (Eds.), Australians uncovering ancient Jordan : fifty years of Middle Eastern archaeology : a volume of studies and retrospectives prepared for The Eighth International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan, Sydney University, 9-13 July 2001, (pp. 233-238). Sydney: Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
  • Betts, A. (2001). Pastoralism. In Russell Adams and Yuval Goren (Eds.), The Archaeology of Jordan, (pp. 615-619). United Kingdom: Academic Press Elsevier.
  • Betts, A. (2001). The Middle East. In David S Whitley (Eds.), Handbook of Rock Art Research, (pp. 786-823). United States: Academic Press Elsevier.

Journals

  • Betts, A., Jia, W., Dodson, J. (2014). The origins of wheat in China and potential pathways for its introduction: A review. Quaternary International.
  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2011). New evidence for Bronze Age agricultural settlements in the Zhunge'er (Junggar) Basin, China. Journal of Field Archaeology, 36(4), 269-280.
  • Betts, A., Jia, W. (2010). A Re-analysis of the Qiemu’erqieke (Shamirshak) Cemeteries, Xinjiang, China. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 38(3 & 4), 275-317.
  • Kidd, F., Betts, A. (2010). Entre la riviere et la steppe: les nouvelles perspectives sur le Khorezm acien. Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.
  • Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Kidd, F., Brite, E., Khozhaniyazou, G., Amirov, S., Yagodin, V., Fray, G. (2010). Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia. An Interim Report on the Kazakly-yatkan Wall Paintings: the "Portrait" Gallery. Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology, 4, 7-41.
  • Betts, A., Kidd, F. (2010). New directions in silk road archaeology. Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan. Neue Folge, 42(2010).
  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V., Helms, S., Khozhaniyazou, G., Amirov, S., Negus Cleary, M. (2009). Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia, 2001-2005: Interim Report on the Fortifications of Kazakl'i-yatkan and Regional Survey. Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, XLVII, 33-55.
  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2009). Prehistoric archaeology in the Zhunge'er (Junggar) Basin, Xinjiang, China. Eurasian Prehistory, 6(1-2), 167-198.
  • Kidd, F., Negus Cleary, M., Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Brite, E. (2008). Ancient Chorasmian Mural Art. Asia Institute. Bulletin, 18, 69-95.
  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2008). Review of the late prehistoric archaeology in Zhungeer Basin, China. Xinjiangwenwu, (1-2), 35-54.
  • Betts, A. (2003). Qasr Burqu - desert periphery and urban core. Mediterranean Archaeology, 16, 89-97.
  • Helms, S., Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Khozhaniyazou, G., Negus, M. (2002). The Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia: the Northern Fromtier of the 'Civilised' Ancient World. Ancient Near Eastern Studies, 39, 3-43.
  • Helms, S., Betts, A., Kidd, F., Yagodin, V., Khozhaniyazou, G. (2001). Five Seasons of Excavations in the Tash-K'Irman Oasis of Ancient Chorasmia, 1996-2000. An Interim Report. Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, XXXIX, 119-144.

Edited Journals

  • Betts, A., Kidd, F. (2010). New Directions in Silk Road Archaeology: Proceedings of a Workshop held at ICAANE V, Madrid, 2006. Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan. Neue Folge, 42.

Conferences

  • Betts, A. (2002). Interpretations of Dhuweila Rock Art: Shamanism and Increase Rites. 2nd International Congress on the Archeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE), Berlin: Ex Oriente.

2014

  • Betts, A., Jia, W., Dodson, J. (2014). The origins of wheat in China and potential pathways for its introduction: A review. Quaternary International.

2013

  • Betts, A., Cropper, D., Martin, L., McCartney, C. (2013). The Later Prehistory of the Badia: Excavations and Surveys in Eastern Jordan. Oxford, UK: Oxbow Books.

2011

  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2011). New evidence for Bronze Age agricultural settlements in the Zhunge'er (Junggar) Basin, China. Journal of Field Archaeology, 36(4), 269-280.

2010

  • Betts, A., Jia, W. (2010). A Re-analysis of the Qiemu’erqieke (Shamirshak) Cemeteries, Xinjiang, China. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 38(3 & 4), 275-317.
  • Betts, A., Tarawneh, M. (2010). Changing Patterns of Land Use and Subsistence in the Badiyat al-Sham in the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods: new data from Burqu and Bayir. In Jacqueline Dentzer-Feydy and Michèle Vallerin (Eds.), Hauran V: La Syrie du Sud du Neolithique a l'Antiquite tardive, (pp. 69-80). Beirut: Presses de l'ifpo.
  • Kidd, F., Betts, A. (2010). Entre la riviere et la steppe: les nouvelles perspectives sur le Khorezm acien. Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.
  • Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Kidd, F., Brite, E., Khozhaniyazou, G., Amirov, S., Yagodin, V., Fray, G. (2010). Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia. An Interim Report on the Kazakly-yatkan Wall Paintings: the "Portrait" Gallery. Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology, 4, 7-41.
  • Betts, A., Kidd, F. (2010). New directions in silk road archaeology. Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan. Neue Folge, 42(2010).
  • Betts, A., Kidd, F. (2010). New Directions in Silk Road Archaeology: Proceedings of a Workshop held at ICAANE V, Madrid, 2006. Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan. Neue Folge, 42.

2009

  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V., Helms, S., Khozhaniyazou, G., Amirov, S., Negus Cleary, M. (2009). Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia, 2001-2005: Interim Report on the Fortifications of Kazakl'i-yatkan and Regional Survey. Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, XLVII, 33-55.
  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2009). Prehistoric archaeology in the Zhunge'er (Junggar) Basin, Xinjiang, China. Eurasian Prehistory, 6(1-2), 167-198.
  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V. (2009). The Tash-K'irman-Tepe Cult Complex: An Hypothesis for the Establishment of Fire Temples in Ancient Chorasmia. In Parry, Ken (Eds.), Art, Architecture and religion Along the Silk Roads, (pp. 1-19). Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers.

2008

  • Kidd, F., Negus Cleary, M., Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Brite, E. (2008). Ancient Chorasmian Mural Art. Asia Institute. Bulletin, 18, 69-95.
  • Jia, W., Betts, A., Wu, X. (2008). Review of the late prehistoric archaeology in Zhungeer Basin, China. Xinjiangwenwu, (1-2), 35-54.
  • Betts, A. (2008). Things To Do With Sheep and Goats: Neolithic Hunter-Forager Herders in North Arabia. In Hans Barnard and Willeke Wendrich (Eds.), The Archaeology of Mobility: Old World and New World Nomadism, (pp. 25-42). California, USA: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

2007

  • Betts, A. (2007). The Aralo-Caspian Region. In Antonio Sagona, Claudia Sagona (Eds.), Ancient Nomads of the Aralo-Caspian Region, (pp. 1-10). Belgium: Peeters Publishers.
  • Betts, A., Yagodin, V. (2007). The Fire Temple at Tash-k'irman Tepe, Chorasmia. In Joe Cribb & Georgina Herrmann (Eds.), After Alexander: Central Asia Before Islam, (pp. 435-453). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2006

  • Betts, A. (2006). Chorasmians, Central Asian nomads and Chorasmian military architecture. In Svend Helms (Eds.), The Military Architecture of Ancient Chorasmia, (pp. 131-155). Paris: de Boccard.
  • Khozhaniyazou, G., Helms, S., Betts, A. (2006). The Military Architecture of Ancient Chorasmia. Paris: de Boccard.

2004

  • Betts, A. (2004). Near East: Clay Plastered Skull. In DT Potts and KN Sowada (Eds.), Treasures of the Nicholson Museum. Sydney: Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney.

2003

  • Betts, A. (2003). Qasr Burqu - desert periphery and urban core. Mediterranean Archaeology, 16, 89-97.

2002

  • Betts, A. (2002). Interpretations of Dhuweila Rock Art: Shamanism and Increase Rites. 2nd International Congress on the Archeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE), Berlin: Ex Oriente.
  • Helms, S., Yagodin, V., Betts, A., Khozhaniyazou, G., Negus, M. (2002). The Karakalpak-Australian Excavations in Ancient Chorasmia: the Northern Fromtier of the 'Civilised' Ancient World. Ancient Near Eastern Studies, 39, 3-43.

2001

  • Betts, A. (2001). A Middle Bronze Age Block Mould from Tell Rukeis, Jordan. In Alan Walmsley, Elizabeth Hardy, Katherine Wolrige (Eds.), Australians uncovering ancient Jordan : fifty years of Middle Eastern archaeology : a volume of studies and retrospectives prepared for The Eighth International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan, Sydney University, 9-13 July 2001, (pp. 233-238). Sydney: Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
  • Helms, S., Betts, A., Kidd, F., Yagodin, V., Khozhaniyazou, G. (2001). Five Seasons of Excavations in the Tash-K'Irman Oasis of Ancient Chorasmia, 1996-2000. An Interim Report. Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, XXXIX, 119-144.
  • Betts, A. (2001). Pastoralism. In Russell Adams and Yuval Goren (Eds.), The Archaeology of Jordan, (pp. 615-619). United Kingdom: Academic Press Elsevier.
  • Betts, A. (2001). The Middle East. In David S Whitley (Eds.), Handbook of Rock Art Research, (pp. 786-823). United States: Academic Press Elsevier.

For support on your academic profile contact .