Photo of Dr Julian Jansen Van Rensburg

Dr Julian Jansen Van Rensburg

Honorary Research Fellow

I received my doctorate in 2013 from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. My research was funded by and formed part of the MARES Project, a multi-disciplinary, multi-period project focusing on the maritime traditions of the peoples of the Red Sea and Arabian-Persian Gulf. My research utilised a cross-disciplinary methodological approach that integrated ethnographic data with historical, archaeological and environmental data providing temporal and spatial insight into the effect local, regional and global influences had on the traditions and technologies of the maritime communities on the island of Socotra, Yemen.

Research interests

My specialisms lie in underwater archaeology, maritime ethnography and the typology of traditional boats of the Near and Middle East.  I have participated in and managed projects in Iceland, Ukraine, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait and Oman. 

My research interests include island and coastal archaeology, Indian Ocean trade networks in Antiquity and the Islamic Period, rock art studies, GIS applications in archaeology, landscape archaeology and cultural heritage management.

More specifically, I am interested in:

• The role of island and coastal communities in our understanding of the transmission and development of cultural traditions, ideologies and technologies especially in relation to Indian Ocean trade during the Late Antique and Islamic periods.

• Utilising the remote sensing of satellite imagery and aerial photography for investigating archaeological landscapes, with an emphasis on agricultural and water management systems.

• Utilising rock art and rock art sites to investigate concepts of place and space within the landscape.

External impact and engagement


Jansen van Rensburg, J. 2014. The Hawārī of Socotra: Cultural Treasure or Coastal Trash, in Gambin, T. and Nash, H. eds. Ships, Saints and Sea lore: Maritime Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. (Valetta: Midsea Books Ltd) 159-168.

Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Caputo, F., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E. W., Shabani, B., and Ratcliffe, J. 2013. The Underwater Survey of the Tammisheh and Gorgan Walls, in Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T. J., Omrani, H., Rekavandi, H., and Nokandeh, J. eds. Persia's Imperial Power in Late Antiquity: The Great Wall of Gorgan and the Frontier Landscapes of Sasanian Iran. (Oxford: Oxbow Books) 423-432.

Jansen van Rensburg, J. 2012. Inscribed stones from Delisha in the journal of Ormsby, in Strauch, I. Foreign Sailors on Socotra. (Bremen: Hempen Verlag) 433-437.

Smith, L. M. V., Mallinson, M. D. S., Phillips, J. S., Breen, C., Forsythe, T., McErlean, D.,Britton, D., Porter, S., and Jansen van Rensburg, J. 2012.Archaeological and historical evidence for the trade of Suakin, Sudan, 15th-19th century AD, in Agius, D. A., Cooper, J. P., Trakadas, A., and Zazzaro, C. eds. Navigated Spaces, Connected Places. Proceedings of Red Sea Project V held at the University of Exeter, September 2010. (Oxford: Archaeopress): 173-186.

Jansen van Rensburg, J. 2010. The Hawārī of Socotra, Yemen. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 39.1: 99–109.

Agius, D., Cooper J.P., Jansen van Rensburg, J., and Zazzaro, C. 2010. The dhow’s last redoubt? Vestiges of wooden boatbuilding traditions in Yemen. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. 40: 71-84.

Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T., Abbasi, G.A., Priestman, S., Safari Tamak, E., Ainslie, R., Mahmoudi, M., Galiatsatos, N., Roustai, K., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Ershadi, M., MacDonald, E., Fattahi, M., Oatley, C., Shabani, B., Ratcliffe, J. Usher-Wilson, L.S. 2008. Sasanian Walls and Hinterland Fortresses, Abandoned Ancient Irrigated Landscapes: the 2007 Season on the Great Wall of Gorgan and the Wall of Tammishe. Iran. 46: 151-78.

Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T., Safari Tamak, E., Ainslie, R., Mahmoudi, M., Griffiths, S., Ershadi, M., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Fattahi, M., Ratcliffe, J., Nokandeh, J., Nazifi, A., Thomas, R., Gale, R. and Hoffmann, B. 2007. An Imperial Frontier of the Sasanian Empire: further fieldwork at the Great Wall of Gorgan. Iran. 45: 95-136.

 Edit profile