Nathan Anderson


Telephone: +1 9099539746 

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

Nathan Anderson obtained his BA in Earth Science and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011 and his MA in History of Art and Architecture of Islamic Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2014. He completed a PhD in Arab and Islamic at the Centre for Islamic Archaeology, University of Exeter in August 2021. His thesis, titled "The Materiality of Islamisation as Observed in Archaeological Remains in the Mozambique Channel", examines religious identity on the frontier of the Islamic world at the end of the first/early second millennium AD focusing specifically on Swahili settlements within the Mozambique Channel. His PhD research involved a series of archaeological reconnaissance visits to Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, and Boeni Bay, Madagascar. He led an archaeological excavation in north-western Madagascar in spring 2019. His research was supervised by Prof. Timothy Insoll, Dr. Emily Selove, and Dr. John P. Cooper of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Nathan’s main research interests are the Indian Ocean, Islamic frontiers, Islamic sects, the Swahili, and material manifestations of community faith. These topics were also examined in his MA dissertation, titled “Swahili Sectarian Origins as Observed in Archaeological Remains”, which compared east African mosque architecture in the late first/early second millennium to structures of suspected/known sectarian affiliation in the Middle East.

In addition to his academic studies, Nathan has worked professionally as an archaeologist for more than seven years. In that time he had leadership roles in both field survey and excavation, as well as experience as a supervisor in an archaeological archive with the Monterey Bay Archaeological Archive. He has conducted phase I (survey), phase II (excavation), and phase III (recovery and processing) archaeological investigations at Kingany and in Boeni Bay, Madagascar, Bilad al-Qadeem, Muharraq, and Samaheej, Bahrain, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, the Californian Mojave desert with RedHorse Corporation and CH2M, in the American bottom with Illinois State Archaeological Survey, and in Tanzania with Rice University, where he habitually employed both archaeological and geological techniques and theories. Notable roles he has held include project lead for cultural monitoring of threatened historic and prehistoric archaeological sites efforts on Edwards Air Force Base, which involved the research of adobe architecture and preservation, and principle investigator of an archaeological expedition at Kingany, Madagascar, which sought to examine the materiality of Islamization within Boeni Bay.