Ancient Arabia: Languages and Cultures

The AALC Project

thamudic dPlease note: The Ancient Arabia Languages and Cultures (AALC) project was a one year project funded by the University of Oxford's John Fell Fund, and came to an end in 2011. This website acts as a historical record of the project, and is no longer actively updated.

The languages and cultures of ancient Arabia have long been studied in the University of Oxford, a legacy of the pioneering work undertaken by the late Professor A.F.L. Beeston. The primary aim of the project Ancient Arabia : Languages and Cultures (AALC) is to make accessible through a single central portal a variety of resources for the study of ancient Arabia, thereby creating a global resource for the study of the languages and cultures of ancient Arabia and the Arabs before the emergence of Islam.

The Academic Director of AALC was Michael Macdonald, an expert in the languages and cultures of Ancient Arabia. AALC was initiated and is managed by The Khalili Research Centre (KRC) of the Faculty of Oriental Studies in the University of Oxford, and the Director of the KRC, Jeremy Johns, was the Administrative Director of AALC. The technical aspects of the project, including this website, were managed by Daniel Burt, and the scanning and cataloguing was the work of Jennifer Lockie.

The AALC project was managed by a small committee consisting of the team members already mentioned, reinforced by Professor Robert Hoyland.

Much of the focus of the AALC project was to digitise and publish the work undertaken by the late Dr Geraldine King, including her previously unpublished doctoral thesis on Early North Arabian Thamudic E [Hismaic], and the large amounts of epigraphic material that she recorded and had prepared for publication before her early death (including the Basalt Desert Rescue Survey and the Dhofar Epigraphic Project).

In addition to the work undertaken by Geraldine King, the site also contains work undertaken by Michael Macdonald and his collaborators, including the massive Safaitic Database Online, alongside other primary sources for the study of ancient Arabia, such as W.J. Bankes's journal of his visit to Petra in 1818, and links to websites and bibliographies for the study of ancient Arabia, and biographical notes on some of the scholars who have contributed most to this website and its associated projects and to the study of ancient Arabia.

Further reading

Ancient Arabia and the Written Word - M.C.A. Macdonald

Ancient North Arabian - M.C.A. Macdonald

Reflections on the linguistic map of pre-Islamic Arabia - M.C.A. Macdonald

See also

Israel Eph'al, The Ancient Arabs. Nomads on the borders of the Fertile Crescent 9-5th centuries BC, Magnes, Jerusalem and Brill, Leiden, 1982

Robert G. Hoyland, Arabia and the Arabs. From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam, Routledge, London and New York, 2001

Michael C.A. Macdonald, Literacy and Identity in Pre-Islamic Arabia, Ashgate Variorum, 2009

Michael C.A. Macdonald (ed.), The development of Arabic as a written language, (Supplement to volume 40 of the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies). Archaeopress, Oxford, 2010

Jan Retsö, The Arabs in Antiquity. Their history from the Assyrians to the Umayyads. Routledge, London and New York, 2002

Jérémie Schiettecatte and Christian J. Robin (eds), L'Arabie à la veille de l'Islam. Bilan clinique, (Orient & Méditerranée, 3). De Boccard, Paris, 2008

Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy

Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies

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