Camel caravan

Camel caravan
Mosaic from Deir al-Adas, Syria, 8th century (photo: J.C.Meyer)
The research project Mechanisms of cross-cultural interaction: Networks in the Roman Near East (2013-2016) investigates the resilient everyday ties, such as trade, religion and power, connecting people within and across fluctuating imperial borders in the Near East in the Roman Period. The project is funded under the Research Council of Norway's SAMKUL initiative, and hosted by the Department of archaeology, history, cultural studies and religion, University of Bergen, Norway.

Project manager / blog editor:

Friday, 26 September 2014

SAMKUL conference 2014

Networks in the Roman Near East is funded by the Research Council of Norway's SAMKUL initiative, which brings together 24 projects from the humanities and social sciences, addressing societal development and social change. This years open SAMKUL conference, in Trondheim on November 3rd,  addresses the technology, politics and culture of food, and boasts some really interesting keynotes addressing food from the Roman period until today. Follow the link for program and registration.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Workshop: Networks and interaction in the Red Sea

Together with colleagues from the research group "Ancient History, Culture and Religion", and the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, both University of Bergen, we are hosting an informal one-day workshop on the history and archaeology of the Red Sea in the pre-islamic and early Islamic period, bringing together scholars from Bergen with some really exiting international guests in order to discuss work in progress. The workshop is open to the public.


Networks and interaction: The Red Sea Region in history and archaeology



University of Bergen
Department of archaeology, history, cultural studies and religion
Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Sep 18 2014

Venue: Jekteviksbakken 31, Seminarrom 240 (Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies)


The Red Sea connects the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean, and has served as a corridor of exchange at least since the second millennium BCE. The sea, however, has also always been an arena of commercial, religious and military interaction between the people living along its coasts and in its hinterlands. This workshop brings together contributions addressing the Red Sea and the neighbouring regions in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods, with the aim of transcending traditional scholarly divides based on period, region, and discipline, by focusing on the common relationship with the sea.

09.00: Welcome

09.15: Vasileios Christides, Institute for Graeco-Oriental and African Studies (IGOAS): The Countries around the Red Sea in the Hagiographic Works.

10.00: Randi Haaland, University of Bergen: Meroitic Empire Sudan; cultural influences and trade in an Indian Ocean context.

10.45: Coffee

11.00: Alexandros Tsakos, University of Bergen: Christian Nubia and the Red Sea.

11.45: Richard Holton Pierce, University of Bergen: Pharaonic Egypt and the Red Sea

12.30:  Lunch

13.30: Zbigniew Fiema, University of Helsinki: To Hegra by Land - New Investigations

14.15: Kristoffer Damgaard, University of Copenhagen: Political Imperialism or Mercantile Expansionism? An archaeological assessment of Islam’s osmosis into Northeast Africa (7th – 10th cent. CE)

15.00: Kasper Grønlund Evers, University of Copenhagen: ‘No Man Is an Island’ — the role of networks, diasporas and associations in the organisation of long-distance trade passing through the Red Sea, 1st–3rd cent. CE

15.45: Coffee

16.00: Michaela Reinfeld, Phillips University, Marburg: Written Sources, Facts and Rumors. The Underwater Archaeology Project of the University of Marburg

16.45: Eivind Heldaas Seland, University of Bergen: Routes, circuits, itineraries: A network analysis of the Periplus Maris Erythraei.


19.30: Dinner (by invitation)


Organizing committee: Anne K. Bang, Alexandros Tsakos, Eivind Heldaas Seland.