Araby the Blest.



Potts. DT Arabian Gulf in Antiquity (OUP, 1991) is by far the most comprehensive
treatment of the archaeology of eastern Arabia, Bahrain and Failaka available. It will be
placed in Reserve and should be consulted on any of the themes that deal with eastern
Arabia and the Gulf. Works in italics will be in Reserve (more may be added later).
The readings are a select list of English-language publications. A vast body of material is
available in French and, to a lesser extent German and Italian. Contact me if you want
these references.

You are not expected to read every article/book but you should prepare for the week’s
lectures by reading AT LEAST the recommended readings (indicated with an *).
Although the course is given in lectures, I encourage discussion and questions: the
more you read, the more you talk and the more you will learn!


You are required to complete three pieces of assessment for this course.
Two are reading logs; the first is due on Friday March 8th and the second is due on
May 4 th . These consist of two page summaries each of one of the recommended*
articles listed for each theme. These should consist of a brief summary of the
author’s arguments and an attempt to contextualise these arguments in general

The second is a term paper which responds to one of the following questions:

(1) How have western views of desert life shaped the interpretation of the Arabian
archaeological record?
(2) How can we explain the decline in settlement in eastern and southeastern Arabia
towards the middle of the second millennium BC?
(3) To what extent has recent work overturned long-standing notions of the foreign
origins of south Arabian civilisation?
(4) To what extent does the form of economic and social complexity evident in Iron
Age southeastern Arabia differ from that evident in the contemporary ancient Near
(5) What evidence exists for the effects and influence of the major Near Eastern
empires of the late second and first millennium BC in the archaeological record of
(6) What role did the incense trade play in economic and political life in southern
Arabia and the southern Levant?
You are free to come up with your own topic after consultation.