Our Structure

As well as the Committee of Trustees, there are Standing Committees, some with a number of sub-committees. The chairs of these are responsible for reporting to the Trustees. Most of the committees meet two or three times a year, as appropriate, and the sub-committees (e.g. Bulletin, Monographs, etc.) meet as often as necessary for the completion of their tasks. The membership of the committees is outlined below.

Professor Valeria Piacentini

Patron

In 2020 the Committee of Trustees elected Professor Valeria Piacentini as Patron of the IASA in recognition of her outstanding support for the IASA and its predecessors over many years and her generosity in providing funds that have enabled us to award grants for research in Arabia.

Committee of Trustees

  • Dr Noel Brehony CBE

    Chair

    After doing a PhD on Libya and post-doctoral research on the West Bank I joined the FCO and spent most of my career dealing with the Middle East with postings to Kuwait, Aden, Cairo and Amman. I was later Director of Middle East Affairs for Rolls-Royce plc, Chairman of Menas Associates, President of the British Society of Middle East Studies and Chair of the Council for British Research in the Levant. In the last few years I have focused on Yemen and was chair of the British Yemeni Society 2010-15 and 2018-9. My book on the PDRY, Yemen Divided , was published in 2011. I co-edited Rebuilding Yemen (2015) , edited Hadhramaut and its Diaspora (2017) and co=edited Global, Regional Local Dynamics in the Yemen Crisis (2020) , Britain’s withdrawal from Aden and South Arabia (2020) and Building a New Yemen (2021).

  • Mr Simon Alderson

    Hon. Treasurer

    I am the odd trustee out in terms of my background. My MA (and unfinished PhD) are in archaeology, but my field is Medieval Britain, and most of my experience of Middle Eastern archaeology was an excavation in Jordan a few years ago. Fortunately, I’m a trustee because I offer other experience in another field: I’ve been a qualified accountant for 25 years, and have run my own practice for over 20 years. Over my career I have always dealt with charities, and currently serve as either treasurer or reporting accountant to a number of charities. Consequently, I offer both accounting advice and knowledge of charity law and regulations to the IASA. I became involved with the IASA because I’ve known Derek Kennet for many years and he asked me to! I’m a great believer in the work done by educational charities as a whole and, having a soft spot for archaeological charities in particular, it wasn’t and isn’t a difficult decision to get involved.

  • Ms Amy Crossman

    Hon Secretary

    Amy is an independent conservation consultant, with 16 years’ experience working for national and international organisations, specialising in collections care and archaeological and ethnographic object conservation. For the last five years Amy has worked as an independent conservator. Amy has a particular interest in integrated pest management and provides specialist advice and training on pests in museums, archives and historic houses. Other interests include disaster planning and response, environmental management, exhibition design and hazardous collections. Amy has worked extensively in the Middle East, as Metals Conservator for the Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyyah/United Nations Development Programme in Kuwait, as conservation consultant for UCL Qatar and as Lead Objects Conservator on the Saruq Al Hadid Archaeological site in Dubai. Amy has long-term involvement in the delivery and development of the British Council’s International Museum Academy Myanmar programme, designing and delivering a national conservation training framework in preventive conservation, specifically implementing and progressing Integrated Pest Management countrywide. She speaks the Arabic language and has translated conservation terminology from English into Arabic and proof-read conservation literature translated from English into Arabic. She is committee member for the Pest Odyssey UK Steering Group and is an assessor for the British Council Cultural Protection Fund.

  • Professor Ahmad Al-Jallad

    Trustee

    Ahmad Al-Jallad is Univesitair Hoofddocent at the University of Groningen. His work focuses on the languages, writing systems, religions, and cultures of pre-Islamic Arabia and the ancient Near East. He has done epigraphic fieldwork in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and is currently directing the King Fayṣal Center for Research and Islamic Studies Ṭāʾif-Mecca epigraphic survey.

  • Ms Ella Al-Shamahi

    Trustee

    Ella Al-Shamahi is a National Geographic Explorer specialising in fossil hunting in caves – in unstable, disputed and hostile territories. Ella believes that this is a risk worth taking because huge parts of the planet are being neglected because of instability, which is tragic because some of these places represent the frontline of science and exploration. She also believes that development is not just about aid, it is also about science and empowering locals. Ella is a stand-up comedian and uses comedy as a coping strategy and also to communicate science. She has been performing science stand-up for four years in the UK and the States, has also done a TEDxNashville talk, and has taken three shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ella is currently undertaking a PhD in Neanderthal rates of evolution at University College London.

  • Dr Robert Bewley

    Trustee

    I retired as the Director of the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project in 2020, a project that began in 2015 and now has funding until 2024. More information on the project is available at http://eamena.arch. ox.ac.uk. In 2020, I was elected Chair of the Council for IASA NEWS British Research in the Levant (CBRL). I intend to continue working in aerial survey for archaeology wherever I can but especially Jordan and Oman (http://www.apaame.org/ ) as the director of those projects. I trained as an archaeologist (at Manchester and Cambridge Universities) and was initially employed at English Heritage as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1984. I moved to the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in the Air Photography Unit in 1987, and became the Head of Aerial Survey until 2003 (by then back in English Heritage). I was Head of Survey 2003-4, and then English Heritage’s Regional Director for the South-West 2004-2007 and became Director of Operations for the Heritage Lottery Fund (2007-2014). My research interests are in aerial archaeology, prehistory, landscape archaeology and the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Professor Robert Carter

    Trustee

    I am currently Advisor in Global Heritage at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antqiuities, and Vsiiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. Prior to that I was Professor of Arabian Archaeology at UCL Qatar. I have broad interests in the archaeology and deep history of the region, from the Palaeolithic to the 20th century AD, particularly Neolithic seafaring, pearl-fishing and the foundation of the Gulf towns. My current work in Bahrain centres on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy, but I am also active in field archaeology in Bahrain, while writing up the results of my years of research in Qatar and elsewhere.

  • Dr José C. Carvajal López

    Trustee

    José C. Carvajal López did his undergraduate degree and his PhD in the University of Granada (Spain). He then held a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship in the University of Sheffield (UK), became lecturer of Islamic Archaeology in UCL Qatar, and since 2018 is a lecturer of Historical Archaeology at the University of Leicester (UK). His specialist field as an archaeologist is pottery and material culture in general, primarily in Iberia and Qatar, but he also has experience in landscape and architectural archaeology. He focuses on archaeological study of the Islamic culture, mainly in the process of Islamization and in interactions of Islam with other cultures. He searches for approaches that combine anthropological theory on material culture and analyses with scientific techniques.

  • Professor Clive Holes FBA

    Trustee

    During the 1970s and 80s, I was an Overseas Career Officer of the British Council, serving in Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Iraq and Thailand. I was involved in setting up Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman in the mid-80s and was the Director of its Language Centre 1985-7 whilst on leave from Salford University, where I was Lecturer in Arabic and Applied Linguistics 1983-7. In 1987 I took up a Lectureship in Arabic at Cambridge and a Tutorial Fellowship at Trinity Hall, being promoted to Reader in Arabic in 1996. In January 1997 I moved to Magdalen College Oxford and the Oriental Institute to take up the Khalid bin Abdullah AlSaud Chair for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, from which I retired in 2014, becoming an Emeritus Professorial Fellow of Magdalen. I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002. My main interests are the languages, dialects and popular cultures of the Arabian peninsula from the earliest times to the present.

  • Dr Derek Kennet

    Chair, Grants Committee

    I am a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University. I have been working on the archaeology of Islamic and pre-Islamic Eastern Arabia and the western Indian Ocean for almost 25 years. I am presently in the course of publishing field projects at Kadhima in Kuwait (in collaboration with the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters), at Qarn al-Harf in Ras al-Khaimah (in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities and Museums, Government of Ras al-Khaimah) as well as 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). At Durham I teach courses on the archaeology of Oman and Eastern Arabia and continue to supervise research students who are working on the archaeology of the region.

  • Mr Michael Macdonald

    Trustee

    I am an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College and a Research Associate of the Khalili Research Centre in the University of Oxford. Between 2013 and 2017, I directed the Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia project, funded by the AHRC and based at the Khalili Research Centre. This has produced an online database of more than 40,000 inscriptions from ancient North Arabia and more inscriptions are being added all the time. I have worked for the last 40 years on the languages, scripts and inscriptions of ancient North Arabia (including Jordan and southern Syria), ancient literacy and the history of the nomads. I undertake epigraphic surveys in the desert of north-eastern Jordan and in northern Saudi Arabia where I direct the British component of the Saudi-British-German project Epigraphy and Landscape in the Hinterland of Taymāʾ. This records the numerous inscriptions in the desert around the oasis of Taymāʾ in their topographical, hydrological and archaeological contexts. In 2018 I was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Chicago.

  • Professor Peter Magee

    Trustee

    Peter Magee is Director of Zayed National Museum and the Head of Archaeology with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. From 2002 he served as Professor and then Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia. At Bryn Mawr he also served as the Director of Middle Eastern Studies and the Assistant to the President on International Education. Prior to that he held academic posts at the University of Ghent and University of Sydney, from where he received his PhD in 1996. He has published widely on the history and archaeology of Arabia and adjoining regions and his most recent book was entitled The Archaeology of Prehistoric Arabia (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He has directed archaeological excavations in the UAE since 1994 and also co-directed an excavation at the late prehistoric settlement of Akra in Pakistan during the late 1990s. He was born in Northern Ireland and has lived in Australia, Belgium, the US and the United Arab Emirates. In his spare time he researches the origins of recipes and ingredients in the Middle East and South Asia.

  • Ms Carolyn Perry

    Trustee

    I am currently the Director of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation a UK Registered charity active in the areas of education and cultural dialogue, having previously been Manager of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL and Arab World Education at the British Museum. As well as accompanying cultural tours as a freelance lecturer, and taking on museum consultancy roles, I am now a member of the Advisory Board of the World History Encyclopedia, and the Board of Caabu (Council for Arab-British Understanding).

  • Mr Gerard Russell

    Trustee

    I was a diplomat, serving mainly in the Arab world, from 1995 to 2009. During that time I lived in Cairo, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Jeddah and Kabul. I had some unusual jobs: I was seconded to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office in 2005 and also was for two years the British government’s Arabic spokesman, a post which I helped to create after the 11 September terror attacks. In 2009 I went to work briefly for the United Nations before taking up a post at Harvard; it was there that I began a book on the religions of the Middle East called “Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms” which was a joy to write, and hellish to edit, but which introduced me to a number of wonderful people and ideas. Since 2011 I have mainly been working as a consultant to clients in the Arab Gulf.

  • Dr Julian Jansen van Rensburg

    Chair, Seminar for Arabian Studies

    Currently I am the working as expert heritage consultant for the World Monuments Fund and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.

    Most recently I have worked as Heritage Researcher for the AHRC GCRF Urgency Grant project “Mitigating climate change effects through traditional land management practices” and as Project Leader for the British Council Cultural Protection Fund project “CPL-185-16 Integrating Cultural Heritage into Conservation and Development Planning on Soqotra”. I have a masters in Maritime archaeology from Southampton University and a Doctorate from the Institute for Arab and Islamic studies at Exeter University. I have worked extensively across the Middle East both under and above water, although my specific field of expertise is the Soqotra archipelago.

    My main research interests include cultural heritage management, rock art studies, GIS applications in archaeology, landscape archaeology, maritime archaeology, and Indian Ocean trade networks in Antiquity and the Islamic Period. I am specifically interested in conducting multidisciplinary research and my most recent National Geographic funded project used ancient DNA in conjunction with the archaeological, historic and ethnographic record to revealing the population history of Soqotra.

  • Dr Robert Wilson, OBE

    Trustee

    I retired from the Foreign Office in 2014, after a career of 32 years as analyst and diplomat concentrating on the Arab World, with postings in the UAE, Bahrain and Yemen, and also Iraq and Libya. Prior to that I was Assistant Lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Cambridge University. I first lived in Yemen, teaching English in the highland town of Hajjah (then in the Yemen Arab Republic), from 1972 to 1973, and travelled extensively in the north-west region of Yemen gather data for my doctorate in the period 1975-1979. A revised version of my doctoral thesis, a Gazetteer of Historical North-West Yemen, was published in 1989. I was Chair of the British-Yemeni Society from 2015 to 2018 and continue to serve on its committee.

  • Dr William Deadman

    Membership Secretary

    I studied Archaeology at Durham University. By chance this was one of the few UK universities conducting archaeological research in eastern Arabia. For my BSc dissertation I carried out remote sensing and ground survey mapping Hafit tombs around Wadi ‘Andam in Sharqiyah. I continued my research into Early Bronze Age Oman at Durham as a postgraduate, examining the nature of Umm an-Nar society for my MA, and mapping the distribution of Hafit tombs across the Batinah for my PhD. I also joined the Rustaq-Batinah Archaeological Survey project, and greatly enjoyed carrying out multi- period surveys with the RBAS team. I now work for Durham wing of the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project, teaching local partners in Lebanon and Iraq how to use the EAMENA Arches site database, as well as GIS and map-making skills.