Paul Wordsworth


Wainwright Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / School of Archaeology / Brasenose College


Research Interests:

  • Early Islamic Archaeology and History of the Caucasus and Central Asia
  • Landscape Archaeology and Geographical Information Systems

Current Projects:

Towns of the Karakum Project (ToKA), in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Archaeological Exploration of Barda'a Project (AEB): Archaeological survey of the Late Antique and early Islamic city of Barda'a, Azerbaijan. In association with the Nizami Ganjavi Programme for the study of languages and cultures of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus.

Balkh Art and Cultural Heritage Project (BACH): Researching the history and archaeology of Balkh, Northern Afghanistan in the early Islamic period.

Recent Publications:

  • Prada, L. and Wordsworth, P. D. 2018. ‘Evolving Epigraphic Standards in the Field: Documenting Graeco-Roman Egyptian Graffiti through Photogrammetry at Elkab’. In F.A.J. Hoogendijk and S. van Gompel (eds.) The Materiality of Texts from Ancient Egypt: New Approaches to the Study of Textual Material from the Early Pharaonic to the Late Antique Period (Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava 35). Leiden: Brill.

  • Wordsworth, P. D. 2018. ‘Traditions of monumental decoration in the earthen architecture of early Islamic Central Asia’. In S. Pradines (ed.) Earthen Architecture in Muslim Cultures: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. Leiden: Brill. Pp. 233-248.

  • Wordsworth, P. D. and Wencel, M. M. 2018. ‘The Dramatic Abandonment of a Late-Antique Settlement in the South Caucasus: The First Archaeological Findings from Qaratəpə, Bərdə Rayon, Azerbaijan’. Journal of Field Archaeology 43 (4): 300-315.

  • Wordsworth, P. D. 2018. ‘Problematising the shifting capitals of medieval Arrān: from Bardhaʿa to Janza in the 10th-12th century’. Iran 56: 64-76.

  • Wordsworth, P. D. 2018. ‘Approaches to understanding provincial structure in the early Islamic Caucasus – Historic Landscape Characterisation in the Kura plain’. In Anderson, W. and Hopper, K. (eds.) Finding Common Ground in Diverse Environments: Survey Archaeology in the South Caucasus. Vienna: OREA (Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology). Pp. 145–160.

  • Wordsworth, P. D. 2018. ‘The hydrological networks of the Balkh Oasis after the arrival of Islam: a landscape archaeological perspective’. Afghanistan 1: 182–208.

  • Bertels, E. E. 2016. The Great Azerbaijani Poet, Nizami: Life, Work and Times. A translation from the Russian original, edited by E. Herzig, and P. Wordsworth, and translated by Maroussia Bednarkiewicz and James White. London: Gilgamesh Press.

  • McPhillips, S. and Wordsworth, P. (eds.) 2016. Landscapes of the Islamic World: Archaeology, History and Ethnography. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Wordsworth, P. 2016. “Sustaining Travel - the economy of medieval stopping-places across the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan”. In McPhillips, S. and Wordsworth, P. (eds.), Landscapes of the Islamic World: Archaeology, History and Ethnography. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Wordsworth, P. 2015. Merv on Khorasanian trade routes from the 10th-13th centuries. In R. Rante (ed.) Greater Khorasan. Studies in the History and Culture of the Middle East 29. Berlin: De Gruyter. 51-62.
  • Barton, J. and Wordsworth, P. 2012. Multi-Scalar GIS at Merv, Turkmenistan: bringing it all together. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA). Proceedings of the 36th International Conference, Budapest, 2nd-6th April 2008.
  • Richter, T., al-Naimi, F. A., Yeomans, L., House, M., Collie, T., Bangsgaard Jensen, P., Rosendahl, S., Wordsworth, P. and Walmsley, A. 2012. The 2010–2011 excavation season at al-Zubārah, north-west Qatar (poster). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 42: 1-10.
  • Richter, T. Wordsworth, P. and Walmsley, A. 2011. Pearl fishers, Townsfolk, Bedouin and Sheikhs: Economic and Social Relations in Islamic Al Zubarah. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 41: 1-16.
  • Williams, T. and Wordsworth, P. 2011. Merv to the Oxus: a desert survey of routes and surviving archaeology. Archaeology International 12: 27-30.
  • Wordsworth, P. 2010. Traversing the Karakum: Approaches to defining trade networks through the desert landscapes of Medieval Central Asia. ArchAtlas, Version 4.1,
  • Wordsworth, P. 2008. Neighbourhoods in the Early Islamic City: A Comparative Study of Urban and Suburban Structural Evolution at Merv, Turkmenistan. Unpublished MA Thesis, University College, London.
  • Wordsworth, P. 2006. An Examination of the Threats to the Archaeology of Northern Afghanistan in a Post-War Context with Reference to Three Sites of Contrasting Origins. Unpublished BA Thesis, University College, London.
Photograph of Paul Wordsworth