top of page

Dr Ruiliang Liu

Principal Investigator

British Museum

“My hope for Horsepower is to reveal the potentially complex life history of copper and copper alloys across different societies and landscapes."

Ruiliang Liu is a rising star in archaeometallurgy

It was the sheer beauty of Chinese ritual vessels that first drew Riuliang Liu to study the metals used to make them. Known to friends as Ray or by his Chinese name 刘睿良, he became a specialist in the field of archaeometallurgy, investigating bronze and copper for chemical clues about how they were produced in the distant past - and where. Central China was a major centre of production and its bronze objects found their way north to Mongolia and, later, along the length of the Silk Roads. After receiving his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2016, Ray worked on an ERC project exploring the flow of metals across Eurasia, a key indicator of the migrations of people and the movements of technologies over thousands of years.  He is now Curator of the Early China Collection of the British Museum in London.


Ray says he’s particularly excited about the Horsepower project because “it creates the opportunity to understand the link between the steppe and China”.


His “working hypothesis” is that that link involved horses being moved from Mongolia to China with metals flowing the other way and his aim is to shed new light on the details of this trade.

bottom of page