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Masjid al-Ashab, Quanzhou, © Timothy Insoll 

© T. Insoll 

Meet the organising committee

Tim Bio Pic_edited.jpg

Organising Committee Chair

Professor Timothy Insoll is an archaeologist and Al-Qasimi Professor of African and Islamic archaeology at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS). His research interests are in later African archaeology (Iron Age) and Global Islamic archaeology.  He is the Director of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology (CfIA) in the IAIS which he founded in 2017. Under the auspices of the CfIA, he was founding host of the inaugural Indian Ocean World Archaeology Conference in January 2020. Additionally Professor Insoll is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and the Honorary Archaeological Advisor to the Court of the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain (since 2001), and Honorary Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

Conference Administrator and

organising committee member

Hannah is an Al-Qasimi doctoral researcher at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) at the University of Exeter and is a member of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology. Her doctoral research focuses on the consumption of Chinese ceramics in East Africa in the premodern and early colonial period. More generally she is interested in their trade and use throughout the Indian Ocean region, particularly in Muslim and indigenous contexts during the mediaeval and premodern period. She received an MA in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas from the Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU), University of East Anglia, and a BA in History of Art/Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).


Alessandro is a maritime archaeologist with a background in experimental archaeology, ethnography and material culture studies, and a member of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology. He completed his Ph.D. (Al-Qasimi scholarship) at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, with a thesis on Indian Ocean medieval watercraft based on archaeological evidence from the Islamic site of al-Balid, southern Oman. His interest focuses on past and present shipbuilding and seafaring in the Indian Ocean. He has been involved in maritime-focused ethnographic, archaeology and experimental archaeology projects in Oman, Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Zanzibar and India ranging from the early Bronze age to modern era. He was the Technical Director in the Jewel of Muscat project, a reconstruction of a medieval sewn cargo vessel based on the 9th century Belitung shipwreck discovered in Indonesia that sailed from Oman to Singapore in 2010.

organising committee member

Samantha Dobson is a PhD student (David Higgins scholarship) at the Centre for Islamic Archaeology within the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. Her PhD research is focussed on the historical archaeology of the pearling industry and the related Islamic identity at the site historical site of Muharraq, Bahrain from the 18th to 20th centuries AD. She holds an MRes (by Sci) in Archaeological Science from the University of Nottingham focussed on the chemical characterisation of glasses from Sri Lanka and Bahrain as well as an undergraduate BSc in Archaeology also from the University of Nottingham. She has also worked previously in commercial archaeology with the Cornwall Archaeological Unit. Her wider research interests are the use of scientific investigative techniques on the provenance of archaeological materials and the implications of this on trade in the historic and ancient worlds, Islamic glass and glazes, the Maritime Silk Road and trade in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf regions.


Organising Committee member

Yiying Li is a doctoral student at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), University of Exeter and is a member of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology, holding an Al-Qasimi studentship. Her doctoral study which started in September 2021 focuses on the Muslim communities in Tang China. She obtained her MSc in Archaeology from the University of Oxford, MSc in Archaeological Science: Material and Technology from University College London, and BSc in Archaeology from Durham University. 

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