Seth Priestman

Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award candidate

Department: Middle East


+44 (0)20 7323 8320

Seth Priestman held the post of curator in the Middle East department between 2007 and 2009 while working on the study of excavated finds from the medieval port of Siraf in southern Iran. The project involved registering, recording and preparing the publication of around 20,000 finds (pottery, glass, metalwork and more) from one of the leading ports in the Persian Gulf region, which flourished during the Early Islamic period (750-1000 AD).

He is currently undertaking an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton and the Middle East department at the British Museum. The aim of this research is to examine changes in nature and scale of commercial activity within the Indian Ocean during the transition from the Late Antique to Early Islamic periods (500-1000 AD). The study is based on the analysis of different varieties of trade ceramics found in excavations from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Southern Iran and South Asia.

Current projects

Indian Ocean Ceramic Trade: 500-1000 AD

Previous projects

British Museum Siraf project

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Research Fellow, British Institute of Persian Studies, since 2001

Recent publications

S.M.N. Priestman, ‘A statistical vs. a sensory approach: Sasanian ceramic studies in the light of Ceramics of the Merv Oasis’, Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology, 5, 2011.

S.M.N. Priestman, ‘Islamic pottery in Oman’. In H. Grube and L. Korn (eds.) Islamic Art in Oman. Muscat: Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs (forthcoming)

S.M.N. Priestman, ‘Pottery from the Gorgan Wall: A Late Sasanian “military” assemblage’, in H.O. Rekavandi, E.W. Sauer, T. Wilkinson, et al. (eds.) Sasanian Walls, Hinterland Fortresses and Abandoned Ancient Irrigated Landscapes: The 2007 season on the Great Wall of Gorgan and the wall of Tammishe, Iran, 46, 2008, 169-176.

S.M.N. Priestman, Settlement and Ceramics in the Southern Iran: An Analysis of the Sasanian and Islamic Periods in the Williamson Collection. University of Durham: MA Thesis (2005a)

S.M.N. Priestman, ‘Bushehr, Dashtestan and Siraf: The Transformation of the Sasanian Maritime Trade Network in the Upper Persian Gulf’, in St J. Simpson (ed.) New Studies in Sasanian Archaeology: Economy, Industry and Material Culture. London: British Museum Press (in press)

S.M.N. Priestman, A Catalogue of Excavated Finds from Siraf in the British Museum, Oxford, British Institute of Persian Studies Archaeological Monograph Series, Oxbow, forthcoming.