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 Christian Sahner.

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

Research Interests:

In my thesis, I focus upon aspects of religious/ritualistic animal iconography in pre-Islamic Arabia, particularly South Arabia. My chronological focus spans from around the late-8th century BC to the 3rd century AD, nevertheless I discuss much later material as comparanda.  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

- Arabian animal iconography

- North Arabian epigraphy, particularly Safaitic

- Arabian nomadism

- Pre-Islamic rock drawings in the Arabian Peninsula

- Graeco-Roman understandings of 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