Registration now open for 2022! See below for the draft agenda.

A brief history of the Seminar for Arabian Studies

The Seminar began as an informal study group set up in 1968 at the time of the first official British archaeological survey in Saudi Arabia, led by Peter Parr of the Institute of Archaeology, University of London. The purpose of the group was to promote archaeological research in the Arabian Peninsula and, after an initial meeting, the group formed itself into the Arabia Society, with John Dayton as Honorary Secretary.

After two relatively small conferences in 1969 and another two in 1970, the Seminar for Arabian Studies, as it had now become, settled into a pattern of annual conferences, of ever increasing size, in 1971, 1972, and 1973. From 1974 onwards, the present pattern had been established of a three-day conference in July, with the publication of its Proceedings in time for the conference of the following year. For many years, the conference circulated between London, Oxford, and Cambridge with occasional visits to Durham, Edinburgh and Manchester. From 2002 to 2018 it was hosted in London by the British Museum. In 2019 the Seminar took place in Leiden, Netherlands and in 2020 will be held in Cordoba, Spain.

Summaries of some of the papers presented at the first Seminar and a list of those given at the second (in January and June 1969 respectively) were published in the Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology, University of London 8-9, 1968-1969: 243-258. These were later republished, together with papers from the third to sixth Seminars (the 3rd Seminar held in January 1970, the 4th in June 1970, the 5th in September 1971, and the 6th in September 1972) in a cumulative volume together with the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies vol. 1-3 in 1973. This was in addition to the separate volumes of PSAS 1 (1971), 2 (1972) and 3 (1973).

From volume 1 (1971), containing the papers from the fourth Seminar held in Cambridge in June 1970, the Proceedings have been published each year and 2020 saw volume 50, containing the papers from the 53rd Seminar held in the University of Leiden in 2019.

The 2022 Seminar

Register now at

The 55th Seminar for Arabian Studies will take place 5-7 August 2022 at the Humboldt University of Berlin. We expect that the event will be both live in Berlin, and also accessible via the internet.

During the Seminar two meetings will be held for scientific exchange among students and PhD candidates in the field of Arabian Studies. They will be both live and online, allowing participation by those who will not be in Berlin and are aimed at connecting the worldwide young generation of scholars on Arabia.

Seminar for Arabian Studies 2022


Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August 2022: Humboldt University, Berlin


Friday 5th August – Section 1a  (Hörsaal 2094)

9.00 Welcome / Registration
Session 1: Palaeolithic & Neolithic (Chair: Knut Bretzke/ Julian Jansen van Rensburg )
9.25 Marc Händel et al: The Palaeolithic record of Abu Dhabi Emirate (UAE)
9.50 Knut Bretzke: Jebel Faya surprises again: Evidence for human occupation during a supposedly hyper-arid period
10.15 Kevin Lidour: First insights into the production and the use of shell scrapers during the Neolithic in coastal Arabia. Preliminary results of experimental and use-wear analysis approaches
10.40 Break
11.10 Noura Hamad Al Hameli et al.: New light on the Neolithic Fertile Coast: Recent excavations on Ghagha Island (Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE) and the emergence of domestic architecture in ancient Arabia
11.35 Jane McMahon: Exploring Late Neolithic domestic occupation in northwest Saudi Arabia
12.00 Christine Kainert: Overseas Interaction through the Lens of the Dosariyah Pottery – Final Results of the Pottery Analysis of a 5th Millennium Site in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
12.25 Maria Pia Maiorano et al.: The Middle Holocene occupation of Al-Khashbah (Sultanate of Oman): first results and chronological implications
12.50 Lunch
Session 2: Bronze Age (Chair: Alina Zur)
14.00 Christophe Sevin Allouet et al: The necropolis of Khor Jarama: towards the discovery of a new prehistoric culture in Oman?
14.25 Valentina Azzara et al.: New insight on the Hafit coastal occupations in Oman: excavation at the Early Bronze Age settlement of Ras al-Jinz RJ-3
14.50 Mathilde Jean et al: The Early Bronze Age in the Hajar oases: new investigations of the settlement, funerary and monumental site of al-Dhabi 2 (Bisya, Oman)
15.15 Break
15.45 Sara Pizzimenti et al: The Omani-Italian Archaeological Expedition at Al Tikha: Preliminary Report of the 2022 Archaeological Campaign
16:10 Steffen Terp Laursen: New excavations at Qala’at al-Bahrain and the Royal Mounds of A’ali, Bahrain
16.35 Taichi Kuronuma et al.: Social changes and maintenance in inner Southeast Arabia during the Wādī Sūq period: A case study of Bāt, Sultanate of Oman
17:00 End



Friday 5th August – Section 2a (Hörsaal 2095a)

9.00 Welcome / Registration
Session 7 Sasanian & Early Islamic Arabia (Chair: Clara Mancarella)
9.25 Seth Priestman et al: Fulayj: A Late Sasanian Fort on the Batinah, Oman and its Transformation in the Early Islamic Period
9.50 Guillaume Chung-To: Al-Hurdah as an Early Islamic area in the oasis of Khaybar
10.15 Rob Carter et al.: Maritime heritage of Bahrain: underwater survey and investigations at Al-Sayah, a constructed island and provisioning centre of the Early Islamic period
10.40 Break
11.10 Jose C. Carvajal Lopez et al.: New information on early Islamic ceramic production and distribution of the Gulf: Siraf, Bushehr and Fulayj
11.35 Timothy Power et al.: A Newly Discovered Late Antique Monastery and Islamic Town on Sīnīya Island, Umm al-Quwain
12.00 Lunch
Please note change to programme
Session 8: Islamic Arabia (Chair: Tim Power)
14.00 Julian Jansen van Rensburg et al.: The Islamic Fortifications of Soqotra
14.25 Cassandra Furstos et al.: Long-distance trade in Al-Ula from the Mamluk period to the 20thcentury AD: Technological, morphological and typological study of glass bangles collected in Al-Ula oasis (Hejjaz, Saudi Arabia)
14.50 Aurore Lambert et al.: Short-term coastal occupation on Jubail Island: Modern Lime Kilns and Marine Resource exploitation for artisanal activities (Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE)
15.15 Break
15.45 Lisa Urkevich: Tariq Abdul-Hakim (1920-2012) “The General” of Saudi Music and early 20th-Century Hijazi Influences
16.10 Pascale Clauss-Balty et al.: Oasian vernacular architecture: The case of Al-Ula (Northwestern Saudi Arabia)
16.35 Elizabeth Cerny & Ronald Ruzicka: GlaViWo – An Arabist’s estate accessible in a 3D virtual world
17.00 End
Saturday 6th August – Section 1b  (Hörsaal 2094)
Session 3: Climate and Agriculture (Chair: Jose Carvajal Lopez)
9.00 Saif Albedwawi: Desert Locust Control in Arabia
9.25 Tara Beuzen-Waller: Holocene fluvial records from the southern piedmont of the Hajar Mountains (Oman): contributions for the study of prehistoric and protohistoric periods
9.50 Louise Purdue et al.: Agriculture and landscape evolution in the fluvial oasis of AlUla (Saudi Arabia): methods and first results in the framework of the ArcAgr-AU project
10.15 Stephen McPhillips et al: The marabid of Khaybar oasis. New archaeological perspectives on enclosure systems in the basalt harra landscapes of northwest Arabia
10.40 Break
Saturday 6th August – Section 2b (Hörsaal 2095a)


Session 9: Epigraphy and Language (Chair: Irene Rossi)
9.25 Fokelien Kootstra et al.: The organization of the cult of Ḏūġābat and its association with foreign deities: evidence from a newly discovered Dadanitic sanctuary in Jabal al-Khuraybah
9.50 Mohammad I. Ababneh: The meaning of the preposition bn in ʿgl bn Hfʿm inscription in the light of an unpublished Ancient North Arabian (Safaitic) inscription
10:15 Justine Potts: A new Sabaean votive inscription to Almaqah from the temple of Awwam
10.40 Break


Saturday 6th August – Special Session: Scents of Arabia (Hörsaal 2094)

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Part 1: Conceptual frameworks (Moderator: Ricardo Eichmann)
11:10 Arnulf Hausleiter, Introduction to the Special Session
11:35 Sureshkumar Mutukaran: From and Beyond Arabia: Incense culture and resinous substances in the 1st millennium BCE Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean
12:00 Lunch
Part 2: Practice and use (Moderator: Marta Luciani)
13:10 AbdulRahman Al Maashani, Frankincense: From Scraping To Burning
13:35 William G. Zimmerle, Production of incense burners: ethnographic perspectives
Part 3: Reconstructing smells: New Insights (Moderator: N.N.)
14:00 Barbara Huber, Thomas Larsen, Beyond Frankincense: Exploring aromatic diversity in Arabia using biomolecular approaches
14:25 Elisabeth Dodinet, Archaeobotany and the reconstruction of scents
14:50 Sofia Collette Ehrich (Odeuropa Group), How Can We Smell History? – presenting and communicating olfactory histories within the cultural sector
15:15 Break
Part 4: Incense trade (Moderator: Friedrich Weigel)
15:45 Julian Jansen van Rensburg & Alan Forrest, What do we really know about the incense trade?
16:10 Sterenn Le Maguer-Gillon, Incense Trade in the Islamic Period
Part 5: Integrating new research strands (Moderator: Michael C. A. Macdonald)
16:45 – 17:30 Panel discussion
  Location: James-Simon-Saal, Museumsinsel
Part 6: Transregional dimensions (Keynote lecture)
19:00 Kiersten Neumann, “Aššur, accept! Aššur, listen!”: Connecting Arabia and Assyria through Incense and Olfaction






Sunday 7th August Section 1c (Hörsaal 2094)

Session 4: Late Bronze and Iron Ages (Chair: Sarah Japp)
9.00  Tatiana Valente et al.: The necropolis of Al Qusais (Dubai, UAE): preliminary results on the 2020 excavation and data reassessment from the 70s and 90s excavations
9.25 Kristina Pfeiffer et al.: Graves as media of communication? Studies on Late Bronze and Iron Age Collective Tombs at the site of Dibba, Fujairah (U.A.E.)
9.50 Eric Olijdam & Christian Velde: Late-second-millennium soft-stone vessels revisited, Or: How to improve our understanding of the Late Bronze and Iron Age I periods in the Oman Peninsula
Break, Poster Session: poster presenters need to stand by their posters
Session 5: Landscape and Settlement (Chair: Sebastiano Lora)
10.50 Stephanie Döpper: The Al-Mudhaybi Regional Survey: Field Seasons 2021 and 2022
11.15 Christoph Schwall et al.: The 2021 field season at Kalba: Results of the excavations and geoarchaeological surveys
11.40 Marta Luciani: Desert Mega-Sites: Urban Oases in the Bronze and Iron Ages
12:05 Irene Rossi & Jérémie Schiettecatte: Mapping and synthesizing ancient Arabia: The Maparabia project
12.30 Lunch
13:30 Silvia Lischi et al: Archaeological research of the Saudi-French Archaeological and Epigraphic Mission to Najrān in the area of Ḥimā (Najrān, Saudi Arabia): Results of the 2020 and 2021 seasons
13:55 Marco Ramazzotti et al: MASPAG first archaeological survey in al Batinah South Governorate, Sultanate of Oman Archaeological and historical framework, methodological perspectives and preliminary results
14.20 Peter Sheehan et al: The Oman Border Fence Project 2021 – a journey through the hydraulic, agricultural and funerary landscapes of al-ʿAyn
14:45 Break
Session 6: Pre-Islamic Récent (3rd BC to 3rd AD)  (Chair: Francelin Tourtet)
15:10 Leonardo Gregoratti: Ommana and the Parthian/Characenian Presence in South-Eastern Arabia
15.35 Bruno Overlaet et al.: The Late Pre-Islamic Funerary Landscape at Mleiha. Results of the 2021-22 Excavations
16.00 Guillaume Charloux et al.: Rediscovering the Oasis of Qaryat al-Faw. The Saudi Heritage Commission Archaeological Mapping Project
16.25 Solène Marion de Proce: The Roman military detachment on the Farasan Islands: archaeological evidence at last
16.50  End
Sunday 7th August – Section 2c: Hörsaal 2095a Students’ session (undergraduates) – Organizer Antonia Charlotta Seifert 
9:00  Bjarne Kortmann, The Small Temple of Yeha (Ethiopa). Reconstruction of an Ethio-Sabean Sancturary 
9:25  Aleksandra Jasiek, Rectangular Stone Structures in Northwest Arabia: Function and Chronology 
9:50  Doralice Klaincek, Decoration and ist Meaning: a Diachronic Study of the Technology and Repertoires of Bronze and Iron Age Ceramics from NW Arabia 
10:15  Tatiana Valente, The Metallurgical Production of SE Arabia during the Iron Age. The Evidence from Saruq al Hadid 
10:40  Break 
Graduate students’ session (PhD candidates) – Organizer Alina Zur 
11:05  Introduction 
11:15  Dominika Majchrzak, Reading the unwritten: new approach for the Dilmun iconographical studies 
11:40  Sara Quaggio, The copper trade during the first half of the 3rd millennium BC. A preliminary view of the socio-economic complexities between southern Mesopotamia and Magan 
12:05  Giulia Buono, Instrumenta Inscripta from pre-Islamic South Arabia 
12:30  Lunch 
13:30  Marilena Polosa, Crossbreeding between communities: the monotheistic period in the South- Arabic and aksumita worlds 
13:55  Catreena Hamarneh, Safe-conduct, How did the Nabataeans secure their roads infrastructure? 
14:20  Nunzia Larosa, Beads in the Burial Complex of Dibbā al-Bayah (Oman): Investigating the Cultural and Socioeconomic Significance of Personal Ornamentation in Late Prehistoric Southeastern Arabia 
14:45  Break 
15:10  Tracey Cian, The social and religious significance of the Iron Age “Snake Cults” in South-eastern Arabia 
15:35  Jay Weimar, How and Where to Ḥajj at Pre-Islamic Dadan: A Re-examination of the Altar-base from al-Khuraybah 
16:00  Daniele Zampierin, The potentiality of a database. Preliminary observations on the imported ceramics from Khor Rori (Oman) between the 2nd c. BCE and the 4th c. CE. 
16:25  Open Forum 
16:50  End 

Special Sessions

As well as the wide range of subjects covered in its main sessions, the Seminar also offers the opportunity for more detailed discussion of a particular area of research by invited speakers in a Special Session, lasting either half a day or a full day. The papers read at a Special Session will be considered for publication either in the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (PSAS) or in a separate volume as a Supplement to PSAS.

Past Special Sessions:

2017: Languages, scripts and their uses in ancient North Arabia (published in a Supplement to PSAS 48, 2018).
2016: Textiles and personal adornment in the Arabian Peninsula (published in PSAS 47, 2017).
2013: Languages of Southern Arabia (published in a Supplement to PSAS 44, 2014).
2012: Museums in Arabia (not published).
2011: The Nabataeans in Focus: Current archaeological research at Petra (published in a Supplement to PSAS 42, 2012).
2009: The development of Arabic as a written language (published in a Supplement to PSAS 40, 2010).
2007: Defining the Palaeolithic of Arabia (a summary of the discussion was published in PSAS 38, 2008 and it was developed in M D Petraglia and J I Rose (eds), The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia, 2010)

Focus Sessions

These consist of at least four papers with the explicit purpose of promoting discussion on work currently in progress, the current state of scholarship on the topic, the application of new approaches, etc. Focus Sessions are held either within the main programme of the Seminar or separately in parallel with it.

Past Focus Sessions:

2015: Beyond the ‘Rose-red’ city: the hinterland of Petra and Nabataean rural sites (partly published in PSAS 46, 2016).
2010: Saudi Arabia (published in PSAS 41, 2011).
2009: Current Fieldwork in Qatar (published in PSAS 40, 2010).

Here you will find a list of Hotels in Berlin 

Best Western Albrechtstraße 25/Ecke Reinhardtstraße 10117 Berlin

SR: ca. 89 – 111 € p. Night DR: ca. 89 – 111 € p. Night

Best Western Hotel am Spittelmarkt Neue Grünstraße 28, 10179 Berlin, T: +49 30 31161500

SR: ca. 75 – 120 € p. Night  DR: ca. 75 – 120 € p. Night

Hotel Motel One Berlin-Spittelmarkt Leipziger Str. 50, 10117 Berlin, T: +49 30 20143630

SR: ca. 94 € p. Night  DR: ca. 115 € p. Night

Hotel Novotel Berlin Mitte Fischerinsel 12, 10179 Berlin, T: +49 30 206740

SR: ca. 136 € p. Night  DR: ca. 146 – 165 € p. Night

Park Inn Berlin Alexanderplatz 7, 10178 Berlin Deutschland, T: +49 30 2389-0

SR: ca. 110 – 150 € p. Night  DR: ca. 120 – 200 € p. Night

Hilton Berlin Mohrenstraße 30, 10117 Berlin, T: +49 30 202300

SR: from ca. 163 € to 406 € p. Night  DR: ca. 163 € to 406 € p. Night

Space Night Berlin (Capsule Hotel) Leipziger Str. 45, 10117 Berlin, T: +49 30 50953800

SR: from 35 € p. Night DR: from 60 € p. Night