For Prospective Students
Peter Magee - Research Interests
My research interests include the archaeology of imperialism in south and west Asia, human habitation of arid environments and the history of European exploration of the Middle East, particularly Arabia.
The substantive data with which the first two issues are addressed is gathered through archaeological fieldwork, re-examination of previously excavated material and archaeometric analysis. This has encompassed:
- Since 1994, directing the on-going excavations of the Iron Age settlement of Muweilah in the United Arab Emirates. These excavations focus on the social and economic organisation of a settlement located in a hyper-arid environment and examine the manner in which external contacts with the then economic and political centres affected economic and social complexity in southeastern Arabia. Click here for a summary of the excavations at Muweilah.
- Since 1997, co-directing the on-going excavations at the site of Akra in North-West Pakistan. This is part of the Bannu Archaeological Project and is co-directed with Prof. Farid Khan of the Pakistan Heritage Society, Mr. Robert Knox from the British Museum and Professor Ken Thomas from the Institute of Archaeology. My involvement in the project is driven by a desire to examine the effects of the Achaemenid (c.538-332BC) annexation of a periphery of its Empire. It has often been assumed that imperial episodes in south Asian prehistory were a catalyst for the emergence of economic and political complexity. This view was largely estabished during the period of colonial rule in what was then India and it is as reflective of the British view of the benefits of their own imperial activities as it is of their view of the past. This project seeks to examine this issue by providing fresh data on the economic, political and social configuration of settlements before during and after this imperial episode.
- The examination and publication of the Iron Age material stored at Harvard University from the site of Tepe Yahya in southeastern Iran. This site is the only excavated Iron Age settlement in that region and its publication will provide for the first time an understanding of Iron Age cultural processes in this area.
- Compositional analysis of ceramic samples from Iran, Pakistan, Mesopotamia and Arabia. Using the PIXE-PIGME technique this project has provided evidence for the complex trade networks which linked these areas in the first millennium BC and explores the relationship between political hegemony and economic interaction.