Complex Made Simple

University College London in Qatar and open up access to archaeological research in the Middle East and Beyond

A new partnership highlighting archaeological research in the Middle East has been set up between University College London in Qatar (UCL Qatar), and, the online academic publishing platform of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals.

The partnership takes the shape of a new, open access book series entitled ‘UCL Qatar Series on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage’ enabling anyone, anywhere in the world, to freely read about archaeological research and build a greater understanding of the region’s fascinating history.

‘Craft and science: International perspectives on archaeological ceramics,’ is the first volume in the series to be published this week. Edited by Marcos Martinón-Torres, an archaeologist at UCL in the UK, the full text is freely available to download on the website.

One of the chapters of the first book focuses on techniques used to generate the distinctive colour and shine of early silver Islamic lustre. The presence of silver and copper nanoparticles in the glazes of 9th-12th century AD ceramics give some of the most decorative works of that time a golden, reflective nature, which was highly-valued.

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (BQFJ) is a collaboration between Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and Bloomsbury Publishing that fosters scholarly and research communication and supports QF’s mission to enhance transfer knowledge. is one platform offering a unique research environment while UCL Qatar, a partner of QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University, is a leading centre of excellence for the study of cultural heritage.

UCL Qatar Director Thilo Rehren, speaking about the new book series, said: “Both Qatar Foundation and UCL Qatar share a strong ethos of excellence, and are committed to promoting research as a key element of creating knowledge. This is relevant for cultural heritage as much as for engineering, as we all live in a society shaped by its heritage, which we need to understand in order to shape the future.”

“To make knowledge most effective, it needs to be shared – and the Open Access drive in modern scientific publishing is a major step in this direction. We at UCL Qatar are therefore delighted to see that Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals is promoting Open Access for books and journals being at the forefront of developments in science disseminations.” Editorial Director Christopher Leonard said: “We are truly excited to work with UCL Qatar to bring some of the wonderful work they are doing in Doha to a wider audience. These open access books mean that anyone, anywhere in the world, can read about this research and build upon it for a greater understanding of the history of Qatar and the wider region.”