Dr Alessandro Ghidoni



College: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Department: Arab and Islamic Studies
Research Centre/Unit: Centre for Islamic Archaeology

I am maritime archaeologist with a background in experimental archaeology, ethnography and material culture studies, and a member of the Centre for Islamic Archaeology. I have completed my 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.  More generally, I am interested in past and present shipbuilding and seafaring in the Indian Ocean. I have been involved in maritime-focused ethnographic, archaeology and experimental archaeology projects in Oman, Emirates, Qatar, Zanzibar and India ranging from the early Bronze age to modern era. I was 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. I have lived in the Sultanate of Oman between 2008 and 2016, where my colleague Dr Eric Staples and I have established a research centre with an experimental archaeological boatyard, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman. 

During my Ph.D. I have curated an exhibition on my research, and received grants and scholarships from several institutions, including Al-Qasimi, IASA (International Association for the study of Arabia, formerly British Foundation for the Study of Arabia) and Barakat Trust.