Current Lectures 2019 – 2020
Please note, lecture venues and starting times vary.

Past Lectures

18th February 2020. ‘The Birds of the Arabian Peninsula’ by Rob Sheldon, Chairman of OSME, 17.45 in Lecture Room G6 at the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.

11 February 2020. In conversation with Ian Black, Tim Mackintosh-Smith discussed his book: “Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires” 17:15 , SOAS, 10 Thornhaugh St, London WC1H 0XG.

10th June 2019 The 3rd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture: Professor Dionisius Agius on “Our days on the sea are gone but our stories remain: The Life of the Red Sea Dhow” Lecture Room G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0PY, 17.45 – 7pm. A recording of the lecture may be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp4uTfR7rPA&t=70s

11th April 2019 Robert Bewley, Director of EAMENA Project, University of Oxford “Endangered Archaeology (with reference to Yemen and Oman)” MBI Al Jaber Building, SOAS, 21 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EA, 5.45 to 7pm. A recording of the lecture may be found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FewLvGGTo7s&t=162s

21st February 2019 Carl Philips The Periplus, South Arabia and the Far-side Ports’ MBI Al Jaber Building, SOAS, Russell Square, London W1, 5.45 to 7pm.

 15th November 2018 Ella Al-Shamahi ‘Dragons Blood island; Socotra and our search for dragons’ (held jointly with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation and the British-Yemeni Society) MBI Al Jaber Building, SOAS, Russell Square, London W1, 5.45 to 7pm.

The MBI Al Jaber Foundation Public Lecture at the 2018 Seminar for Arabian Studies: Robert CarterNeither the desert nor the sown: the towns of the Arabian Gulf from the 18th to the 20th centuries’  Saturday 4th August 2018 at 18.00. Venue: The British Museum, The Clore Education Centre. The event is free but places must be booked in advance through the British Museum’s website: bit.ly/MBILecture2018Book. Robert Carter is Professorial Research Fellow in Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology at UCL Qatar. His main research concerns the origins of the Gulf towns; in particular the archaeological, historical and orally transmitted evidence of the development of Qatari towns. He is currently a BFSA Trustee.

The 2nd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture: Dr Derek Kennet on ‘Remarkable new discoveries of Iron Age remains around Rustaq on the Batinah Coast of Oman’ by Dr Derek Kennet. The lecture took place on 13th June 2018 following the BFSA AGM in Lecture Room G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0PY. Dr Derek Kennet is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham. He has been working on the archaeology of Islamic and pre-Islamic Eastern Arabia and the western Indian Ocean for 25 years. In addition to projects at Kadhima in Kuwait, Qarn al-Harf in Ras al-Khaimah Derek has been running a large survey project around Rustaq on the Batinah in Oman (in collaboration with Dr Nasser al-Jahwari of Sultan Qaboos University, the Anglo-Omani Society and the Omani Ministry of Heritage and Culture). He is presently chair of the organizing committee of the Seminar for Arabian Studies.​

A blog post on the lecture by Tony Walsh can be read here: https://www.tonywalsh.me/remarkable-new-discoveries-from-iron-age-rustaq-oman/

Dr. Shahina Ghazanfar on “Travel and Plant Collections of Aucher-Eloy, Oman, 1938”. The talk took place in the MBI Al Jaber Building, SOAS, 21 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EA on 22nd February 2018. at 17.45. Dr Shahina A. Ghazanfar is currently a Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she has worked since 2001 as Co-editor for the Flora of Tropical East Africa, Head of the Temperate Regional Team and Editor of the Flora of Iraq. Her expertise is in the flora of the Middle East, with a particular focus on that of the Arabian Peninsula, including the restoration, conservation and bio-geography of plants in that region. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. The lecture may be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg7_WyGA868

Dr. Sami de Giosa on “A return to Arabian art and architecture in Cairo at the beginning of the 20th century: the patronage of Prince Mohamed Ali Tewfik”, Thursday 19th October 2017, MBI Al Jaber Building, 21 Russell Square, London, 5.45 – 7.00 pm
Sami de Giosa is a Fellow at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford, having previously worked at the British Museum as a project curator. He completed his PhD in Islamic art at SOAS with a thesis on the revival of art and architecture in Cairo under Sultan Qaytbay in the late Mamluk period. His publications include articles on the production of ceramics in Egypt and Syria during the 15th century and on the use of Christian symbols in Mamluk architecture.  

Inaugural Beatrice de Cardi Lecture:  Carl Phillips on ‘Fifty years of Survey and Excavation in the UAE and Oman; Beatrice de Cardi’s background and legacy’. Carl Phillips conducted a number of projects throughout the 1980s in the United Arab Emirates, as well as taking part on projects in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. Throughout the 1990s he taught at UCL Institute of Archaeology, London, specializing in the Archaeology of pre-Islamic Arabia. During this time he initiated a major project at Kalba, in Sharjah Emirate, not far from the Oman border, and also established the first British archaeological excavations in north Yemen. Since the beginning of the 1980s he has remained a frequent visitor to Oman and from 2006 to 2014 was the field director of the archaeological project focused on the site of Salut, conducted by the University of Pisa’s ‘Italian Mission to Oman’ (IMTO) and the Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs. Monday, 5 June 2017, Room 421, Roberts Building, UCL, TORRINGTON PLACE, LONDON, WC1E 7JE. BFSA AGM 5.15, Lecture 5.30.

Dr Nelida Fuccaro, ‘Iraq’s Oil cultures before the Revolution’ . Dr Fuccaro is a Reader in Modern History of the Middle East at SOAS and is interested in interdisciplinary and cross-regional approaches to the study of the region. Her research has focussed on the Gulf Arab States – Iraq and Syria – with particular reference to the social and cultural history of oil, urban history. 15 June 2017, MBI Al Jaber Building, 21 Russell Square, London, 5.45 – 7.00 pm. Jointly hosted with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

Sara Alhamad ‘Arabia on a Plate: Eating and Sailing on the Trade Routes from the Gulf to the Red Sea Ports and Beyond’ Sara Alhamad, award-winning author of Cardamom and Lime: Recipes from the Arabian Gulf has an MA from SOAS and has worked for Saqi Books for many years, has recently written ‘Sun Bread and Sticky Toffee: Date Desserts from Everywhere’, which takes the reader on a wonderful journey in the footsteps of date palms. Thursday, 18 May 2017, MBI Al Jaber Building, 21 Russell Square, London, 5.45 – 7.00 pm, Jointly hosted with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. This lecture can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us4J65sN_dM

Dr Seth Priestman ‘Policing the Batinah? Late pre-Islamic Persian imperial expansion into the Arabian Peninsula: new evidence from Fulayj’. Dr Seth Priestman (University of Edinburgh) will speak about a newly discovered Sasanian military site in Oman. He has directed two seasons of excavations and fieldworks as part of a current project dealing with the wider frontiers of the Sasanian Empire. The site represents the first securely dated Sasanian site in Oman an the first anywhere facing directly into the Indian Ocean. It opens up new questions about Persian military expansion into Eastern Arabia shortly before the emergence of Islam. The lecture starts at 6pm, doors open 5.30pm. Thursday, 20 April 2017, Anglo-Omani Society, 34 Sackville Street, London W1S 3ED Jointly hosted with the Anglo-Omani Society. 

Panel and Book Launch: The Emergence of the Gulf States (ed. J. Peterson) 25 October 2016, 5.45 pm Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London . BFSA members are invited to attend the London book launch of John Peterson’s latest book The Emergence of the Gulf States, hosted by the London Middle East Institute and the Altajir Trust. Chaired by Charles Tripp, SOAS.

Dr St John Simpson on Postcards from Arabia BFSA Trustee and British Museum Curator St John Simpson talks about postcards from Arabia in the collection of the British Museum at our next lecture.  Wednesday, June 22, 2016 .

Carl Phillips on Oman’s unique position in the archaeology of pre-Islamic Arabia.  A joint lecture with the Anglo-Omani Society, this will be held at the Anglo-Omani Headquarters. Thursday, April 21, 2016 

Prof Trevor Marchand on Architecture that ‘Fills the Eye: building traditions in Highland Yemen.Prof. Trevor Marchand is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at SOAS. This talk will be hosted by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation but BFSA members are invited to attend. Thursday, March 17, 2016

Louis Allday: Digitising British Imperialism in the Gulf:  The British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership.   Louis Allday is a Gulf History and Arabic Language Specialist for the British Library-Qatar Foundation Partnership. This ongoing partnership has created the Qatar Digital Library (www.qdl.qa), a bilingual online portal that provides access to previously un-digitised British Library archive materials related to the history of the Persian Gulf and a selection of the Library’s Arabic scientific manuscripts.This will be a joint BFSA/MBI hosted talk. 15 October 2015

Professor Peter Magee, Turning the world upside down: the emergence of camel caravans and overland trade in the Ancient Near East
Peter Magee is Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Director of  Middle Eastern Studies at Bryn Mawr College. The Annual MBI Al Jaber Lecture at the Seminar for Arabian Studies, The British Museum,
Professor Magee will present the latest evidence for the timing and location of dromedary domestication in Arabia. Moving from this, he will explore how the use of dromedaries for overland trade fundamentally reconfigured the political and economic landscape of the ancient Near East. Saturday, July 25, 2015 
Dr. Lucy Wadeson, Recent work in and around Petra 
Thursday, June 4, 2015 – 17:30
Dr Wadeson was until recently Editor of the Foundation’s Bulletin, while based in Amman as the G.A Wainwright Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Oxford). She is now based at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles as the Wiener Anspach Postdoctoral Fellow. Lecture Theatre G6, Institute of Archaeology, 31 Gordon Square, London WC1

Study Day – Networks of the Red Sea: travel, trade and connections  

Saturday, March 21, 2015 – 09:45
Institute of Archaeology, UCL, Gordon Square, London  WC1H 0PY
Joint Study Day for the Friends of the Petrie Museum and The British Foundation for the Study of Arabia
Networks of the Red Sea: travel, trade and connections An exciting day discussing the latest work on both sides of the Red Sea: excavations and research spanning five millennia of inter-regional activityFrom       09.45             Doors open for registration (please come prepared for variable a/c temperatures!)
10.00 – 10.15               Welcome
10.15 – 11.30               Claire Somaglino: Ayn Soukhna and exploring the Red Sea: from the reign of Khafre to the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty
11.30 – 12.00               coffee
12.00 – 13.15               Carl Phillips: The southern Red Sea coast of Arabia in the 2nd-1st millennium BC: relations between Arabia, Punt and Ethiopia
13.15 – 14.15               lunch – please make your own arrangements
14.15 – 15.30               Roberta Tomber: To east and west: the ins and outs of trade at Egypt’s Roman Red Sea ports
15.30 – 16.00               tea
16.00 – 17.15               Aylin Orbasli: Historic Towns of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast: trade, pilgrimage, architecture and society
17.15 – 17.30               Q&A
Dr Aylin Orbasli is a Reader in Architectural Regeneration at Oxford Brookes University. She works as a heritage consultant, and researches the meaning and conservation of heritage in Islamic towns and settlements in ArabiaMr Carl Phillips is a Research Associate at CNRS Paris. He has excavated extensively in Yemen, Oman and the UAE. His current research includes connections along and across the Red SeaDr Claire Somaglino is an Associate Professor at Paris-Sorbonne (History Department), a member of IFAO and  a member of the French-Egyptian archaeological mission to Ayn SoukhnaDr Roberta Tomber is a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the British Museum, and specializes in trade through the Red Sea. She was the co-director of the 2012 excavations at Quseir al-Qadim, Egypt

The Art of Collecting

Prof. Nasser D. Khalili
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 – 18:00
Corpus Christi College, Merton Street, Oxford, OX1 4JF
BFSA/MBI al Jaber Foundation. Please let the MBI al Jaber Foundation know if you are able to attend, on: info@mbifoundation.com

Prof. Khalili is a world-renowned scholar, collector and philanthropist. Since 1970 he has assembled eight of the world’s finest art collections, which include Islamic Art and art of the Hajj pilgrimage from 700 – 2000. These collections have contributed to more than 50 international exhibitions and items from the collections have been exhibited in museums worldwide including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  In 1989 Prof.Khalili founded the Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art and Archaeology at SOAS. In 1995 he founded the Maimonides Interfaith Foundation, a charity which promotes peace and understanding between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Holy Land Lovingly Explored and Documented in the Late Ottoman Period

Dr. Hisham Khatib
Thursday, January 15, 2015 – 16:00
BP Lecture Theatre in the Clore Centre, British Museum.
Lecture hosted jointly by the BFSA, the PEF and the CBRL.

Dr Khatib explores the history of westerners’ observations of the Holy Land through his own remarkable collection of manuscripts, paintings, photographs and maps, which tell the story of a lasting fascination and a quest for understanding. Dr. Hisham Khatib was born in Acre, Palestine and spent his youth and early career in Jerusalem, where he was the city’s chief electrical engineer.  One of the world’s leading energy experts and Honorary Vice Chairman of the World Energy Council, Dr. Khatib has published widely on energy matters and the global environment.

The Greening of Arabia: Water, Fossils and Early Peoples

Professor Mike Petraglia
Thursday, November 20, 2014 – 17:45
MBI Al Jaber Building London Middle East Institute (LMEI), 21 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EA
Part of the MBI Al Jaber Lecture series. BFSA members are invited to attend, but places are limited so please email info@mbfoundation.com as soon as possible to reserve a seat.

Professor Michael Petraglia is Co-director of the Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art, and Culture at the University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. He will present some of his team’s research in the Palaeodeserts Project, focusing upon environmental change in the Arabian Desert.

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