Research

CBRL awards funding and research support each year following its strategic plan for research. Awards are given according to specific research themes and priorities. In addition, CBRL has one major strategic research initiative, Exploring Identities in the Levant, which combines elements from many of CBRL's key research themes.

Some of our own research is directly funded by the British Academy. Recent projects have included:

  • "Higher Education and Political Change in the Arab World: What Role for the Social Sciences?" 
  • "Twenty years of the 'Oslo peace paradigm': an assessment of its achievements and limitations"
  • "The Deep Past as a Social Asset in the Levant".

British Academy funding has enabled us to employ a series of post-doctoral research staff on these projects, including:

  • Dr Francesca Burke on the Higher Education project, which has had a regional perspective working in Egypt, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  • Dr Mansour Nsasra has worked on the Oslo project, based at the Kenyon Institute. 
  • Dr Oroub el-Abed joined the team at the British Institute in Amman in 2015 to work on the Deep Past project; http://www.britac.ac.uk/review/25/index.cfm

Water, Life and Civilisation

Published: 2011

Water, Life and Civilisation was a major Leverhulme Trust funded project examining the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society in the Jordan Valley over the last 20,000 years and a little way into the future. The project ran from 2004 concluding with a conference at the Royal Society and a major monograph published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press with UNESCO in the International Hydrology Series. The project was based at Reading University under the overall leadership of Prof. Steven Mithen and CBRL was a partner in the research with Prof. Bill Finlayson working as one of the co-PI's in the research. State of the art models were produced to simulate past and future climate, geological evidence was used to reconstruct past environments, and hydrological models developed for the Jordan Valley and associated wadis. Archaeological evidence for water management and human responses to climate and environmental change was reviewed, and research was conducted on how contemporary urban and rural populations manage their water supplies.

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Conflict in Cities and the Contested State

Published: 2015

CBRL-Affiliated Project

This is a major ESRC funded project which focuses on divided cities as key sites in territorial conflicts over state and national identities, cultures and borders. The research objectives are to analyse how divided cities in Europe and the Middle East have been shaped by ethnic, religious and national conflicts, and conversely, how such cities can absorb, resist and potentially play a role in transforming the territorial conflicts which pervade and surround them. A team of researchers from three UK universities, Cambridge, Exeter and Queen's Belfast, are leading the multi-disciplinary initiative that includes: architecture, urban studies, politics, geography and sociology. Teams reflecting the divisions being researched are carrying out work in situ in Belfast and Jerusalem. Seven PhD students have been attached to the programme since September 2008 and, in conjunction with an international network of academics and practitioners, are working on the divided cities of Brussels, Berlin, Mostar, Nicosia, Berlin, Beirut, Tripoli and Kirkuk. The principal investigator is Prof. Wendy Pullan (Cambridge), with co-investigators Prof. James Anderson (Queen's University Belfast), Prof. Mick Dumper (Exeter) and Prof. Liam O'Dowd (Queen's University). Project website can be visited here.

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The ‘Deep Past as a Social Asset in the Levant’ (DEEPSAL)

Published: 2016

The DEEPSAL research project examines the relationship between the deep past, as represented by two Neolithic archaeological sites in the south of Jordan, Basta and Beidha, and the way the communities of the villages living close to them are able to value them. The stated objectives of DEEPSAL are to “to examine how Neolithic sites contribute to local communities, to analyze how different factors affect the contribution of this heritage and assess how cultural heritage assets can be mobilised in the future to benefit the communities”. 

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Fallahin and Nomads in the Southern Levant from Byzantium to the Crusades: Population Dynamics and A

CBRL-Affiliated Project

Co-Directors: Claudine Dauphin, Archaeologist and Byzantinist, (Hon. Prof., University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Lampeter) and Mohamed Ben Jeddou, Geomatician - GIS (UMR 8167 of CNRS, Orient et Méditerranée - Monde byzantin, Paris). Team: Jean-Marie Castex, Geographer (Université Internationale de la Mer, Nice); Basema Hamarneh, Archaeologist, Byzantinist, Early Islam specialist (Bergamo State University and Milan State University); Mark Merrony, Byzantine Art Historian (Mougins Museum of Classical Art)

Combining archaeological data, literary and historical sources, and Geographical Information System (GIS) analysis, this multidisciplinary project aims to trace demographic fluctuations between the Byzantine and Crusader periods in the marginal arid zone of the Southern Levant (Bilad al-Sham) and to follow the sedentarization processes of the bedu from Arab infiltration prior to the Conquest of AD 636 to the Mediaeval period. The project has been funded since 2010 by a private British foundation, the Mougins Museum of Classical Art.

Featured in the CBRL Bulletin 8 (2013). Subject of the Crystal Bennett Memorial Lecture 2013.

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