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The MBI Al Jaber Public Lecture:
Saturday 4th August 2018 - 18.00
Seminar for Arabian Studies, The British Museum, The Clore Education Centre

Neither the Desert nor the Sown: the Towns of the Arabian Gulf from the 18th to the 20th Centuries AD

Robert Carter, Professorial Research Fellow in Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology, UCL Qatar

The MBI Al Jaber Lecture at the 2018 Seminar for Arabian Studies will be delivered by Professor Robert Carter, Professorial Research Fellow in Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology at UCL Qatar. His lecture “Neither the Desert nor the Sown: the Towns of the Arabian Gulf from the 18th to the 20th Centuries AD” will deal with the urban development of towns in the Gulf region. It will take place on Saturday 4th August 2018 at 6pm in the Clore Education Centre at the British Museum.

The lecture is free but places must be booked in advance. If you wish to take part to the MBI Al Jaber Lecture, please visit The British Museum’s website: http://www.britishmuseum.org/

The historic towns of the Gulf are rarely studied, and this lecture will explore their origins, their urban character, their material culture, their economic bases and their people, using a range of historical, archaeological, geographical and anthropological approaches. The majority of the towns on the Arabian shore were founded during the 18th and 19th centuries AD as pearl-fishing and trading settlements, and despite their apparent isolation (from a European perspective) all were heavily reliant on global patterns of trade and consumption for their origins and survival. They became home to rapidly expanding and diverse populations, often highly mobile but simultaneously settled and urban, drawn both from long-standing local populations and a variety of regions in Arabia, Iraq, east Africa, India and Persia. Despite their relatively recent origins, these towns developed from a very ancient tradition of urbanism found along the Arabian, Persian and Mesopotamian shores, and likewise built upon millennia-old trading networks in the western Indian Ocean. Professor Carter will give an overview of the foundation of these towns and the economic and political context in which they thrived, and will then use case studies to examine their urban character, their development and their historical geography, up to the coming of oil. Information from archaeological investigations will be used to illustrate their material culture and the lives of their inhabitants, and show how they responded as consumers and producers in the global marketplace between the 18th and mid 20th centuries AD.

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, and his chief research project is the Origins of Doha and Qatar, a multidisciplinary project that combines archaeology, historical research, GIS and oral histories to explore the development of the Qatari towns, including a comparative study of the other urban centres of the Gulf. He is a leading expert in the historical archaeology of the Gulf, the archaeology of the Gulf towns, and the historic pearl fishery, being the author of Sea of Pearls: Seven Thousand Years of the Industry that Shaped the Gulf. His other major research project, the Shahrizor Prehistory Project, examines specialisation and complexity in northern Iraq in the 5th-6th millennia BC (Ubaid Period). Professor’s Carter’s other research includes Neolithic seafaring in the Gulf (5th-6th millennia BC); the formative role played by the pearl fishery in the shaping of the Gulf countries; the archaeology of Christian communities in the Gulf during the Early Islamic period; and medieval urbanism and maritime trade in the region. He has conducted research in all the countries of the Gulf.

You can download a pdf flyer for this lecture.


A full schedule of forthcoming lectures is available here.

In order to reserve a seat for the lecture, please email info@mbifoundation.com as seating is limited.

Please note that the views expressed by the speakers in this lecture series should not be interpreted as views held by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

 

 

Charity Reg. No. 1093439

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