Josef Bloomfield


Lady Margaret Hall


DPhil in Oriental Studies

Thesis Title:

Human-animal interactions in the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula


Twitter: @Joe_Bloomfield

Educational Background:

Royal Holloway, University of London

 - BA (Hons) in Classical Studies (First Class)

University of Oxford

 - MPhil in Greek and/or Roman History (Distinction)

My MPhil dissertation was titled 'The camel as a central point of interaction between nomadic and sedentary groups in Roman Arabia and Syria'.

I am currently undertaking my DPhil in Oriental Studies as a Clarendon Fund and Lady Margaret Hall Buckee Scholar.

My supervisors are Michael Macdonald and Martin Goodman.

I am an editor for the Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia (OCIANA).

Research Interests:

In my thesis, I intend to produce a survey of the various interactions with and cultural attitudes towards animals in the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula. My chronological focus spans almost two millennia, ranging from c. 1000 BC, with the birth of scripts in the Arabian Peninsula and supposed domestication of the dromedary camel, to the very beginning of the Arab conquests in the first half of the 7th century AD.  I make use of a wide range of evidence, including but not limited to pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphy, rock drawings, zooarchaeology, accounts of Greek and Roman authors, early-Islamic literature & the Qurʾān, and more modern ethnological comparative studies.

- Human-animal interactions

- North Arabian epigraphy, particularly Safaitic

- Arabian nomadism

- Pre-Islamic rock drawings in the Arabian Peninsula

- Landscape archaeology in Roman Syria and Arabia

Recent Publications and/or Conferences:

Conference papers:


Animal History Group Summer Conference 2020: Borders and Boundaries, Online

 - Camel-centric relationships between nomadic and sedentary peoples in Roman Syria and Arabia


Meaning, Memory, and Movement: Ancient and Medieval Spaces, University of Birmingham

 - Arabian Nomads at the Theatre: Understanding the Safaitic inscriptions from Pompeii

Oxford-Tel Aviv Programme for the Study of the Ancient World, Tel Aviv University

 - Soukhos of Krokodilopolis: Greek dedications to crocodile gods at Fayūm


London Postgraduate Conference for the Ancient Near East, The British Museum

 - The Silence of the Nomads: Rock art and the written word in the ḥarrah

Oxford Epigraphy Forum, University of Oxford

 - Greek inscriptions by literate Arabian nomads in the ḥarrah

Josef Bloomfield