World Hands

Our research explores the ways in which the flow of people, ideas, objects and materials impact on different societies over space and time; considering issues such as local responses to global phenomena, individual agency (the way people actively and creatively shape new social situations), and entanglements between people and material.

People across the globe have become increasingly conscious of the way in which the world is interconnected, how supposed barriers such as the nation-state, religion and culture are far more permeable and fluid than was once imagined, and how we individually and collectively impact on each other and the environment within which we live.

Globalisation, a concept which seeped into the popular imagination, especially from the 1990s, is often envisaged in terms of high-speed travel over wide-ranging distances, rapid forms of communication by media such as the internet and the apparently “unstoppable” march of capitalist consumer culture.

These, of course, are partial symptoms of (late) modern globalisation. There has been growing recognition that increasing connectivity does not just lead to standardisation and homogenisation, but frequently also results in culturally heterogeneous outputs and the re-embedding of local culture (reinforcing purportedly traditional customs); the adoption, adaptation, amelioration and resistance to wider global influences in a local context sometimes being dubbed glocalisation.

In the context of this current zeitgeist, scholars from the social sciences and the humanities have sought to find new concepts with which to address issues such as boundaries (ethnic, cultural, state), humanity’s impact on its environment, localised responses and individual agency in a global context, and the way we engage with material things.

This has been in order to explore both contemporary practical and ethical issues (notably by anthropologists, sociologist and political scientists) and also the occurrence of such phenomena in the past (by archaeologists and historians of the ancient, medieval, early modern and modern world).

Among the concepts and methods that we employ in our research are: a global historical framework and globalisation and glocalisation theory, transculturality, entanglement, hybridity, (social actor) network analysis, and new materialism/material engagement theory.

Our work ranges from the study of the ancient Afro-Eurasian world (with particular focus on the Aegean and Indian Ocean interconnectivity), religious links across medieval Europe, links between the “Old” and “New” worlds across the Atlantic, nineteenth and early twentieth-century port-cities, and Islam in a contemporary global context.


Our recent research outputs include: 

2019 Cobb, M. A. ‘Peoples of the Eastern Desert of Egypt and their impact on the Red Sea trade (first to third centuries CE)’, Ancient West & East. 

2019 Cobb, M. A. (ed.),  The Indian Ocean Trade in Antiquity: Political, Cultural and Economic Impacts. London: Routledge.

2018   K. Stöber, J. Kerr and E. Jamroziak (eds) Monastic Life in the Medieval British Isles. Essays in Honour of Janet Burton. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 

2018   M. Cobb ed. The Indian Ocean Trade in Antiquity: Political, Cultural and Economic Impacts. London: Routledge.

2018   M. Cobb. Rome and the Indian Ocean Trade from Augustus to the Early Third Century CE. Leiden: Brill.

2018    K. Erikson ed. The Seleucid Empire: 281-222 BC. War Within the Family. Cardiff: The Classical Press of Wales.

2018  K. Erickson. The Early Seleukids, their Gods and their Coins. London; New York: Routledge.

2018    L. Steel, Shifting Relations in Bronze Age Gaza: An Investigation into Egyptianizing Practices and Cultural Hybridity in the Southern Levant During the Late Bronze Age, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 20: 15-30.2016    K. Erickson, Apamea and Stratonike: Marriage and Legitimacy. In A. Coskun and A. McAuley (eds), Seleukid Royal Women. Franz Steiner Verlag.

2017 K. Zinn, Object Biographies and Political Expectations: Egyptian Artefacts, Welsh Heritage and the Regional Community Museum. In: G. Rosati and M.C. Guidotti (eds.). Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Egyptologists, Florence, Italy 23-30 August 2015. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017, 693-700

2017   R. Hauessler and A. King (eds) Celtic Religions in the Roman Period: Personal, Local, and Global. Celtic Studies Publications.

2017   A. Slater. Radical Orthodoxy in a Pluralistic World. London: Routledge.

2016    A. Petersen et al.,Ruwayda: an historic urban settlement in north Qatar. Journal of Post-Medieval Archaeology 50(2): 321-49

2016    A Petersen, Crusader and Muslim Towers in Bilad al-Sham, in M.Sinibaldi, B Major, K.Lewis and J.Thompson eds. Studies on Crusader Archaeology, Architecture and History in Honour of Denys Pringle. University of Wales Press, Cardiff

2016    A Petersen, Building the Past; Archaeology and National Development in the Gulf. In P. Erskine-Loftus, V. Hightower and M. al-Mulla (eds) Representing the Nation; Museums in the Gulf, 95-108. London: Routledge.

2015    M. Cobb, Chronology of Roman Trade in the Indian Ocean from Augustus to Early Third Century CE. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 58: 362-418.

2015    M. Cobb, Balancing the Trade: Roman Cargo Shipments to India. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 34(2): 185-203.

2014. T. Jansen. Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present. Edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein and Christian Meyer. Boston: Brill. 

2014    K. Erickson, Zeus to Apollo and Back Again: Shifts in Seleucid Policy and Iconography. In S. Krmnicek and N. Baylor (eds), Art in the Round. 97-108.Tübinger Archäologische Forschungen (TAF).

2014    M. Cobb, The Exchange of Goods from Italy to India during the Early Roman Empire: The Range of Travelling Times. Ancient West and East 13: 89-116.

Our ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research is reflected by the various papers presented by colleagues in conferences and public lectures at academic institutions both in the UK and overseas.

May 2018. Globalisation in the Ancient World. International conference at Lampeter, organised by Matt Cobb and Ralph Hauessler.

Keynote Speakers: Mark Horton (Max Planck Institute) New Developments in the Science of Globalisation; Michael Sommer (Oldenburg University) Gateway Tadmur - the beginnigns of Palmyra's long-distance trade.

Speakers from Lampeter from Lampeter included Matt Cobb (The Indian Ocean in Antiquity and the Concept of Globalisation), Ralph Hauessler (How do people shape their own identities in Rome's western provinces? On the usefulness of glocalisation, creolisation and bricolage), Louise Steel (Red Lustrous Ware a Marker of Globalisation in the Near East during the LBA?), Katharina Zinn (Globalise or de-globalise? That is the question. The problem of  becoming Egyptian in pharaonic Egypt),

September 2017. Freedom, Rebellion, and Loyalty: Smyrna and the End of Seleukid Asia, Chris Fleming at the Seleukid Study Day VI,  Nipissing University, Canada. 

September 2017. Islam and Postcolonialism, Shadaab Rahemtulla, guest lecture in Liturgy and Postcolonialism, at the Union Theological Seminary, New York

September 2017. Postcolonial Liturgy: Muslim Perspectives, Shadaab Rahemtulla, guest lecture in Liturgy and Postcolonialism, at the Union Theological Seminary, New York

November 2016.  A Series of Dialogues: The Diplomatic Conference in the Early Second Century BCE, Chris Fleming at the Networking in the Ancient World Conference, University of Liverpool

February 2017. Black Pepper Consumption in the Roman Empire, Matt Cobb, Past Peoples Seminar Series.

October 2016. Celts and Celticity in North Italy between Bronze Age and Roman Period, Ralph Haeussler, Past Peoples Seminar Series.

January 2016. Buffer Zones in the Ancient World, Chris Fleming at the Student Researcher Conference.

January 2016. Contesting Spaces in the Near East, BANEA 2016 @ Lamp. Panel organised by Louise Steel, including a paper by Kyle Erickson: Visions of Empire: The Donations of Alexandria and Hellenistic Territorial Ambitions.

May 2014 Sacred Landscapes: Creation, Manipulation, Transformation organised by Ralph Hauessler, with papers by Thomas Jansen: The Sacralization of Landscape as Memory Space in Early Medieval China;Louise Steel: Transforming Landscapes: Exploring the Creation of a Sacred Landscape in Northeast Cyprus at the Beginning of the Late Bronze Age; Katharina Zinn: Creation and conservation of Sacred Landscapes: Amarna and Abydos – keeping the spirit alive?

We work hard to engageour students and the wider public with our research.

Examples of our impact include: 

  • Monastic Wales. This project aims to disseminate knowledge about the medieval monasteries of Wales to a wider public, through our website, a series of public lectures, workshops, tours and talks to local history societies, as well as a book aimed at the general reader, commissioned by the University of Wales Press. Specifically, we aim to encourage visitors to specific sites, both through the website.  The success of the project is illustrated by the establishment in 2014 of the Monastic Ireland project.
  • Wales Qatar Archaeological Project: Of particular importance is the Nations of the Sea Conference held at the National Museum of Wales and funded by LNG South Hook, a Qatari company based in the UK and also supported by the Qatar Museums Authority. We are also working with the Qatar Tourism authority to open one of its heritage locations to the public as a combined natural and historic heritage site with a view to UNESCO designation in the future.  Visit our Ruwayda Facebook Page for more information.
  • Ifdialogue: the International Federation for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue (IFIFICD) seeks the promotion, research, engagement and practical application of inter-faith, intercultural dialogue and the exploration and understanding of the connectivity across different religions and faith communities in pursuit of peace and harmony. 

Our research is embedded in our teaching, giving students the opportunity to reflect upon interactions, hybridity, connected communities, entanglements and globalisation both ancient and modern. This includes practical engagement with theoretical concepts of connectivity in modules such as:

  • Connected Worlds:
      - Exploring Interactions Between Egypt, the Aegean and the East
  • Mediterranean Seafaring
  • The Modern Middle East: Religion Culture and Politics (AHHI6014)
  • Pharaohs, Phoenicians and Peoples of the Sea
  • Political Islam
  • Rome and the Indian Ocean: The Classical World in a Global Context (HPAH7008)