Dr. Timothy Power
Wed, 28 September 2022
I am an archaeologist and sometime historian specialising in Arabia and the Islamic world. My interest in Islamic civilization began in 2001 when I moved to Cairo, from where I worked on a historical guidebook to Alexandria and dug in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, before travelling extensively in the Islamic world between Seville and Samarkand. I went on to study Islamic art and archaeology at the University of Oxford in 2003, and completed my doctorate on the Red Sea basin from Byzantium to the Caliphate, later published as a book by the AUC Press. I have been based in the Emirates since 2009.
My career began as a consultant to the Department of Culture and Tourism, for whom I worked on archaeological excavations in the al-Ain Oases. I was then appointed Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology at UCL Qatar, before moving to Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, where I was promoted to Associate Professor. I joined the United Arab Emirates University in 2021 and am happy to be back in the beautiful oasis town of al-Ain. My archaeological fieldwork focuses on the oases of al-Ain and lagoon of Umm al-Quwain. I am a specialist in the Islamic-period ceramics of the Arabian Gulf. This has led to a research interest in Indian Ocean trade. I have worked on the history and archaeology of many sites in the Emirates, including Qattara Arts Centre, Qasr al-Muwaij‘i, al-Ain Museum, Qasr al-Hosn, Saadiyat Island, Hisn al-Sira, Jazirat al-Hamra, Masafi Oasis, Hatta Dam, and Siniya Island. I have also run archaeological projects in Buraimi and Zanzibar.
In 2022 I was awarded a Start Up Grant by the Research Office with the support of the College of Humanities and Social Science. This grant has been used to set up an archaeological project on Siniya Island in collaboration with the Tourism and Archaeology Department Umm al-Quwain. Our excavations have so far discovered the old town and Friday mosque of Umm al-Quwain, a 700-year-old urban sequence constituting one of the best preserved coastal settlements ever found in the Emirates. Students from UAEU are welcome to volunteer to join us in the excavations! Over the past few years, I have been working on my next book, provisionally entitled “A History of the Emirati People: Identity and Belonging between the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean.” This constitutes a first attempt to bring together archaeological and historical evidence to chart the long-term economic and social development of the pre-modern Emirates. I so far have about 150,000 of a planned 200,000 words and look forward to completing it in the next couple of years.
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