Historian, Archaeologist & Broadcaster

Dr Sam Willis is an award-winning historian, archaeologist and broadcaster. His work takes him on adventures all over the world.

Latest Project: Maritime Silk Road Reborn

Latest Project: I spent a great deal of last year sailing around the South China Sea and Indian Ocean in the wake of the famous Chinese explorer Zheng He, exploring how modern Chinese maritime trade is being built on a tradition centuries old.

My travels took me all over the Chinese coast, to Singapore, Malacca in Malaysia, Kochi in India, Malindi in Africa, Dubai, Egypt and, finally, to Greece. And it’s going to be shown on National Geographic.

Film & TV


Histories of the Unexpected Podcast
Sam Willis Podcast


Shipwreck: A History of Disasters at Sea
The Glorious First of June: Fleet Battle in the Reign of Terror (Hearts of Oak Trilogy)
Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare
The Struggle for Sea Power: A Naval History of American Independence
Fighting Ships 1850-1950
Fighting Ships: From the Ancient World to 1750
The Fighting Temeraire: The Battle of Trafalgar and the Ship That Inspired J. M. W. Turner's Most Beloved Painting
In the Hour of Victory: The Royal Navy at War in the Age of Nelson
Fighting Ships 1750-1850
The Admiral Benbow: The Life and Times of a Naval Legend (Hearts of Oak Trilogy)
The Spanish Armada
Histories of the Unexpected: How Everything Has a History
'Enthralling, endlessly enjoyable...' Waterstones.com
'A nautical tour de force ****' Mail On Sunday
'Willis is a magnificent describer of the realities of fighting ships at sea.' The Sunday Times