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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Dr Geoffrey King

PGCE, MPhil, PhD (London) FSA


Geoffrey King
Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Reader in Islamic Art and Archaeology

London Middle East Institute (LMEI)


Dr Geoffrey King
Email address:
020 7898 4447
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Brunei Gallery
Office No:


PhD Students supervised


The Islamic architecture and archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula, greater Syria and Iran; the inter-relationships of the Indian Ocean from central Africa to the Far East. Religious architecture of the Islamic world; the art and architecture of the late antique world and the period of the emergence of Islam.

Current Research

Current research includes studies of the following: the devotional monuments of Islam in al-'Iraq, Iran and Syria; the transition from the late antique to the art and architecture of early Islam; the pilgrimage route from Syria to Makka al-Mukarrima; the intercultural relationships of the Indian Ocean--Arabia, east Africa and the Far East; the Musandam peninsula of northern Oman; the archaeology of the 'Empty Quarter' sand desert; textual and archaeological evidence for the history of Julfar and Ra's al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates; and the archaeological evidence for camel sacrifice in pre-Islamic Arabia.


Dr King researches principally on the architecture, archaeology and art of Arabia, greater Syria, Iran and the Indian Ocean. His first degree is from the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London and he paints, particularly water-colours. His M.Phil. (1972) was on a mosque in Toledo and his Ph. D. (1976) was on the mosaics of the Great Mosque of Damascus. Subsequently he taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt (1977-1980) and King Saud University, al-Riyad, Saudi Arabia (1980-1987). He held a research fellowship at the Classics Department of King's College London from 1987 until 1989 when he joined SOAS. He directed a survey of Byzantine and Islamic sites in Jordan from 1980 until 1983 and excavated with a Saudi team of archaeologist at the Islamic pilgrimage road site of Rabadha from 1980 until 1987. He directed the British team excavating at Julfar, Ra's al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 1989 until 1993 and was Academic Director of the Abu Dhabi Islands Survey from 1992 until 2003. He is currently working with Iranian colleagues on Islamic devotional architecture in Iran and he is also working on inter-relationships between Arabia, Iran, Africa and China via the Indian Ocean. Dr King has contributed to BBC World Service radio programmes on the archaeology of Yemen, of Abu Dhabi, Syria and on the Islamic pilgrimage and the Ottoman railway system from Damascus to al-Madina al-Munuwarra; he has also participated in programmes on Islamic art, architecture and culture on UK's Channel 4 and on Iranian and Syrian television.


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Available for
  • Radio
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Near and Middle East
Country Expertise
  • Bahrain
  • Iran
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen
  • Arabic


Authored Books

King, Geoffrey (1998) The Traditional Architecture of Saudi Arabia. IB Tauris (London).

King, Geoffrey (1997) Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, Season 1: An Archaeological Survey of Sir Bani Yas, Dalma and Marawah. Trident Press (London).

King, Geoffrey and Tonghini, C (1996) Reconnaissance Survey of Islamic Sites near Aden and in the Abyan District of Yemen. SOAS.

Edited Books

King, Geoffrey, ed. (2003) Sulphur, Camels and Gunpowder, The Sulphur Mines at Jebel Dhanna, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. An Archaeological Site of the Late Islamic Period. Abu Dhabi: ADIAS.

Book Chapters

King, Geoffrey (2006) 'The Islamic Architecture of Dalma Island.' In: Damluji, S. S., (ed.), The Architecture of the United Arab Emirates. Garnet Publishing, pp. 151-76.

King, Geoffrey and Hellyer, P (2003) 'Islamic Archaeology in the Deep Sands of Abu Dhabi Emirate, U.A.E.' In: Potts, D and Naboodah, H and Hellyer, P, (eds.), Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates. Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the U.A.E. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 263-276.

King, Geoffrey (2002) 'The sculptures of the pre-Islamic Haram at Makka.' In: Ball, W. and Harrow, L., (eds.), Cairo to Kabul. Afghan Studies presented to Ralph Pinder-Wilson. London: Milisende, pp. 144-150.

King, Geoffrey (1997) 'The History of the UAE: The Eve of Islam of the Islamic Period.' In: Perspectives on the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press (London), pp. 74-94.


King, Geoffrey (2004) 'The Paintings of the Pre-Islamic Ka'ba.' Muqarnas. An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Essays in Honor of J.M. Rogers., 21 . pp. 219-29.

King, Geoffrey (2003) 'The Pottery of Lima, Musandam, Sultanate of Oman.' Tribulus, Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group, vol. 1 . pp. 17-19.

King, Geoffrey (2002) 'The Prophet Muhammad and the Breaking of the Jahiliyyah Idols.' Journal of Semitic Studies. Studies on Arabia in Honour of G. Rex Smith, 14 . pp. 91-122.

King, Geoffrey (2002) 'Archaeological Fieldwork at the Citadel of Homs, Syria: 1995-1999.' Levant, 34 . pp. 39-58.

This list was generated on Mon Sep 15 01:00:17 2014 BST.