Forthcoming Lectures

The International Association of Arabia is organizing its annual Beatrice de Cardi lecture on 21 September at 17.45 (BST)  at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London WIJ 0BE and by Zoom.  If any members of the Bahrain Society would like to attend in person please send an email to  by 15 September.

To attend by Zoom, please register at

The lecture

Although the earlier periods of Bahraini archaeology were well-investigated, notably Dilmun and ‘Tylos’, that of the Islamic era had been comparatively neglected. To redress this, the Anglo-Bahraini ‘Early Islamic Bahrain’ project was initiated in 2001 and is now one of the longest continuously running archaeological projects in the Arabian Gulf. Initial excavations were in the Bilad al-Qadim area, the former Abbasid capital on Awal, the main island, and the results of these will be described and contextualised in their wider regional and international contexts, as will those from subsequent research on the Islamic gravestones of Bahrain (pre-1900), and from excavations in Muharraq Town, and in the oldest extant ceramics workshop in the village of A’ali. The establishment of the site museum at the Al-Khamis Mosque, and the investigation of a Christian building in the village of Samahij (6th to 8th centuries AD), the first found in Bahrain, will also be considered, and the work of students involved in the project highlighted. Finally, the future directions for the project will be outlined.

The lecturer

Professor Timothy Insoll FBA is Al-Qasimi Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, where he is also founding director of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology. He has completed archaeological field projects in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mali, Saudi Arabia, and for many years in Bahrain where he is Honorary Archaeological Advisor to the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain, HRH Sh. Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.  He has published extensively, including 11 monographs (one translated into Turkish and two into Persian), and 13 edited volumes and special issues of journals. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Society of Antiquaries and Royal Asiatic Society.


Past Lectures

Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia

IASA, the British Yemeni Society and the MBI al Jaber Foundation are organizing a joint talk with Professor Janet Watson, Professor Dawn Chatty and Dr Jack Wilson. They will speak on their contributions to the recently published book Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia (edited by Janet Watson, Jon Lovett and Roberta Morano).

The religious landscape of the late pre-Islamic Hijaz: a view from the epigraphy

This lecture by Prof Ahmad Al-Jallad, and moderated by Michael Macdonald, will present new epigraphic discoveries from the late 5th to early 7th century Hijaz.

Nancy Um: Mocha in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Yemen’s Age of Coffee Joint lecture with the British Yemeni Society and the MBI al Jaber Foundation.

Nancy Um: Mocha in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Yemen’s Age of Coffee Joint lecture with the British Yemeni Society and the MBI al Jaber Foundation.

The Annual Beatrice de Cardi Lecture: Hugh Kennedy, Al-Baladhuri’s Account of the Muslim Conquest of Arabia

‘Al-Baladhuri’s Account of the Muslim Conquest of Arabia’, hosted by Professor Hugh Kennedy, SOAS University of London

Charles Huber: Arabia’s Greatest Explorer by William Facey

Charles Huber: Arabia’s Greatest Explorer by William Facey, via Zoom. Joint lecture with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

Nomads and connectivity in the Gulf in the early Islamic period: an archaeological assessment by Dr. Jose Carvajal Lopez

Nomads and connectivity in the Gulf in the early Islamic period: an archaeological assessment by Dr. Jose Carvajal Lopez

The transformation of the Imamate in Yemen, 1200-1800: beyond the failed state paradigm by Dr. Ekaterina Pukhovaia

Hosted jointly with the British-Yemeni Society and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai by Todd Reisz

Todd Reisz' new book Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai explores architecture’s packaging to sell Dubai on a global stage. Not available online. 

How Abu Dhabi’s archaeology is reshaping the understanding of the Global Neolithic by Professor Peter Magee

Professor Peter Magee Director of Zayed National Museum & Head of Archaeology with the Department of Culture and Tourism (Image (C) Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi). Available online.

Medina in al-Andalus and North Africa: representations, beliefs and practices by Professor Maribel Fierro

Keynote Lecture, 54th Seminar for Arabian Studies (Photo: by Girl with red hat on unsplash ). Available online.

Masters of the Pearl: a history of Qatar by Michael Quentin Morton

‘Masters of the Pearl: A History of Qatar’ is Michael Quentin Morton's latest book about the Middle East. Available online.

Tweets from an ancient desert by Michael C. A. Macdonald FBA

Michael Macdonald is currently the director of several projects which record the many thousands of graffiti carved by ancient nomads in the deserts of what is now Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Available online.

Panel Discussion on ‘Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Saudi Arabia’

A panel discussion on recent archaeological discoveries in Saudi Arabia. Available online.

Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe by Diana Darke

The lecture is based on Diana Darke's recent publication 'Stealing from the Saracens'. Not available.

Carved Doors as Historical Documents in Zanzibar, Oman, and Beyond by Janet M. Purdy PhD

Janet Purdy's talk focuses on the ways carved doors function as primary historical documents. Available online.

Soqotra’s forgotten and endangered heritage by Dr Julian Jansen van Rensburg

Dr Julian Jansen van Rensberg he will introduce some of the variety of cultural heritage sites, traditions and practices that have been recorded and highlight the threats that they now face. Available online.

Exclusive showing of ‘Arabian Renaissance‘

A new documentary film followed by a panel discussion (via Zoom)… The documentary is not available online.

The Birds of the Arabian Peninsula’ by Rob Sheldon, Chair OSME

Rob Sheldon on the varied and wonderful bird life of the Arabian Peninsula. Photo (c) Richard Porter. Not available online.

Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Tim Mackintosh-Smith interviewed by Ian Black of LSE about his new book. A joint event with the British-Yemeni Society and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. Not available online.  

The 3rd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture – Our days on the sea are gone but our stories remain: The Life of the Red Sea Dhow by Professor Dionisius Agius

Professor Dionisius Agius delivers the 3rd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture on the Life of the Red Sea Dhow. Not available online.

Endangered Archaeology (with reference to Yemen and Oman) by Professor Robert Bewley and Michael Fradley

Robert Bewley and Michael Fradley of the EAMENA project give an update on endangered archaeology in Yemen and Oman. Available online.

The Periplus, South Arabia and the Far-side Ports by Carl Phillips

Carl Philips explores the relationship between the Periplus and archaeological evidence along the coasts of South Arabia and Eritrea. Not available online.

Dragons Blood Island; Socotra and our search for dragons by Ella Al-Shamahi

Ella Al-Shamahi gives a presentation on an expedition to Socotra made in March 2018 with Leon McCarron, Martin Edström and Rhys Thwaites-Jones. Not available online.

Neither the desert nor the sown: the towns of the Arabian Gulf from the 18th to the 20th centuries by Professor Robert Carter

The MBI Al Jaber Public Lecture at the British Museum, Keynote Lecture of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. Not available online.

Remarkable new discoveries of Iron Age remains around Rustaq on the Batinah Coast of Oman by Dr Derek Kennet

The 2nd Beatrice de Cardi Lecture given by Derek Kennet, on exciting new discoveries from Rustaq, Oman. Not available online. 

Travel and Plant Collections of Aucher-Eloy, Oman, 1938 by Dr Shahina Ghazanfar

Dr Ghazanfar looks at the travels of French pharmacist and botanist Pierre Martin Rémi Aucher-Éloy in Oman. Available online.

A return to Arabian art and architecture in Cairo at the beginning of the 20th century: the patronage of Prince Mohamed Ali Tewfik by Dr. Sami de Giosa Copy

Dr Sami de Giosa looks at the architectural legacy of Prince Mohammad Ali Tewfik. Not available online.

Iraq’s Oil cultures before the Revolution by Dr Nelida Fuccaro

Dr Nelida Fuccaro discusses Iraq’s Oil Cultures before the Revolution. Hosted jointly with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. Not available online.

Fifty years of Survey and Excavation in the UAE and Oman; Beatrice de Cardi’s background and legacy by Carl Phillips

The First Beatrice de Cardi Lecture was presented by Carl Phillips and reviewed some of the remarkable legacy Beatrice de Cardi. Not available online.

Arabia on a Plate: Cuisine and Commerce in the Gulf and Beyond by Sara Alhamad

Sarah Alhamad takes us on a journey around the flavours of the Arabian Peninsula. Hosted jointly with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. Online lecture available.

Policing the Batinah? Late pre-Islamic Persian imperial expansion into the Arabian Peninsula: new evidence from Fulayj by Dr Seth Priestman

In a joint lecture with the Anglo-Omani Society, Dr Seth Priestman sheds new light on the Sasanians in Oman. Not available online.

Panel and Book Launch: The Emergence of the Gulf States edited by J. Peterson

The London book launch of John Peterson’s latest book The Emergence of the Gulf States. Not available online.

Study Day – The Arab Revolt

A Study Day in collaboration with the British Museum marking the centenary of the Arab Revolt. Not available online.

Postcards from Arabia by Dr St John Simpson

Dr St John Simpson presented a lecture on the British Museum’s project to collect postcards from the Middle East. Not available online.

Oman’s unique position in the archaeology of pre-Islamic Arabia by Carl Phillips

Hosted jointly with the Anglo-Omani Society. Not available online.

Architecture that ‘Fills my Eye’: building traditions in Highland Yemen by Prof. Trevor Marchand

A lecture by Trevor Marchand, Emeritus Professor of SOAS, University of London held jointly with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. Available online.

Digitising British Imperialism in the Gulf : The British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership by Louis Allday

Louis Allday introduces the The British Library - Qatar Foundation Partnership. Not available online.

Turning the world upside down: the emergence of camel caravans and overland trade in the Ancient Near East by Professor Peter Magee

Professor Peter Magee gives the MBI Al Jaber Public Lecture at the Seminar for Arabian Studies, British Museum 2015. Not available online.

Recent work in and around Petra by Dr. Lucy Wadeson

Lucy Wadeson presents recent work in an around the Nabataean site of Petra. Not available online. 

The Red Sea and the Gulf: Two Maritime Alternative Routes in the Development of Global Economy, from Late Prehistory to Modern Times

The Red Sea VII Conference. Not available online.

Study Day – 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 activity. Not available online.

The Art of Collecting by Prof. Nasser D. Khalili

Prof. Nasser D. Khalili talks about his collection relating to the Hajj, and his other world class collections. Not available online.

The Holy Land Lovingly Explored and Documented in the Late Ottoman Period by Dr. Hisham Khatib

Dr Khatib explores the history of westerners’ observations of the Holy Land in this joint lecture with the PEF and the CBRL. Not available online.

Why is the British Museum Collecting Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East? by Dr Venetia Porter

Venetia Porter introduces the British Museum's collection of contemporary and modern Middle Eastern art. Not available online.

The Greening of Arabia: Water, Fossils and Early Peoples by Professor Michael Petraglia

Professor Michael Petraglia presents some of the findings of the Green Arabia Project. Not available online.

Red Sea V: Navigated spaces, connected places

The fifth in the Series of Red Sea Conferences. Not available online.