Ancient Arabia: Languages and Cultures

bankesThe 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 is 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, is the Administrative Director of AALC. The technical aspects of the project, including the website and online database, are managed by Daniel Burt, and the scanning and cataloguing is the work of Jennifer Lockie.

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

In October 2011, AALC received an initial grant from the University of Oxford's John Fell Fund. Further applications to continue the work of AALC and its associated projects are pending and in preparation.

Much of the focus of the initial year (2010–2011) of the AALC project is to digitise and publish the work undertaken by the late Dr Geraldine King, including her previously unpublished doctoral thesis on Early North Arabian Thamudic E [Hismaic], and the large amounts of epigraphic material that she recorded and had prepared for publication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 will also contain 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 bibliography 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.