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Dr Harriet Nash

BSc, MSc, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow

In March 2009, I was awarded my PhD on the use of stars for timing irrigation water in Oman.  Following nearly 30 years of work as a consultant hydrogeologist, I started the study on Oman in September 2005 under the supervision of Professor Dionisius A. Agius .

In 2010, I extended my area of research to Iran, where stars were used for timing irrigation water some 60 years ago, and have succeeded in identifying some of those stars. Continuing in Oman, by 2011 I had recorded the methos of star use and identified many of them in the 11 villages still using them, compared to 3000 before the 1970s and modernisation. Since then I have also interviewed fishermen and settled Bedouin as a pilot project for looking at star use in aommuncties as a whole and comparing names and knowledge for different puprposes. I returned in November 2018 to investigate a manuscript about stars once used on an irrigation system in the former capital, Rustaq. However, the few people rememring anything about star use are elderly, with poor eyesight. Only 2 or 3 of the villages previously studied still use stars,  and the little I have published to date is perhaps the only detailed redord of this traditional knowledge.



2018 Anglo-Oman Society

2014 Ancient & Modern for Oman

2009 Society of Arabian Studies research grant

2009 Society of Iranian Studies travel grant (used in 2010)

2009 Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust for research on stargazing in Oman and Iran

2008 Prince Al Waleed Award for Furthering Understanding

2006-2008 AHRC scholarship for PhD studies

2005 Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust for research on stargazing in Oman




Water Management: The Use of Stars in Oman H Nash, Society for Arabian Studies Monographs No. 11, Oxford, Archaeopress, 2011 

Mineral and Thermal Groundwater Resources, M Albu, D Banks, and H Nash. London: Chapman & Hall, 1997.

Groundwater in the Urban Environment: Problems, Processes and Management, co-editor with J Chilton et al. Rotterdam: Balkema 1997

Groundwater Quality eds H Nash H. and J G H McCall , London: Chapman & Hall, 1995.


Nash, Harriet & Agius, Dionisius & Al-Mahrooqi, Ali & Al-Yahyai, Said. (2016). Star Use by Fishermen in Oman. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 46. 10.1111/1095-9270.12204.

Star Clocks and Water Management in Oman Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, ed. Clive Ruggles, 2015 Springer: New York: 1941-1948

Astronomical timing of irrigation in Oman. UNESCO/World Heritage/International Astronomical Union Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy 2014, ed. Clive Ruggles

Timing falaj water shares in the Hajar ash Sharqi, with Muhammad bin Hamad Al Musharifi and Ahmed bin Saif Al Harthi J Oman Studie2014: 63-75

Timing water shares in Stall and Hageer, Wadi Beni Kharous, Oman, with A Al-Ghafri and M Al-Sarmi Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 43, 2013: 1-10

Star Charts from Oman with D A Agius. Proceedings of the 24th Congress of the
Union Européenne des Arabisants et  Islamisants Leipzig, 24 - 28 September 2008. in print Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 2012.

Traditional timing of water shares, with Majid Labbaf Khaneiki, Ali A. Semsar Yazdi Proceedings of the International Conference on Traditional Knowledge for Water Resources Management, Yazd, Iran 21-23 Feb. 2012

Management of Water Shares for Falaj Al-Hamra and Falaj Al-Kasfa, S R Al- Shaqsi and H Nash Journal of Oman Studies 17, 2011: 101-111

The Use of Stars in Agriculture in Oman, H Nash and  D A Agius, Journal of Semitic Studies LVI/1 Spring 2011:167-182.

Lesser Man-Made Rivers: the Aflaj of Oman and Traditional Timing of Water Shares, H Nash in Rivers and Society: from Early Civilisations to Modern Times A Hirtory of Water, Series II, V2, eds T Tvedt and R Coopey, London & New York, I.B.Tauris 2010: 221-235.

Folk Astronomy in Omani Agriculture, H Nash and D A Agius, in Proceedings International Astronomical Union (IAU) No. 260 The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture. eds D Valls-Gabaud and A Boksenberg 2010: 53-58.

Star Charts from Oman, H Nash and D A Agius. Proceedings of the 24th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et  Islamisants. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 2010.

The Social Importance and Continuity Of Falaj Use In Northern Oman, Z Al-Sulaimani, T Helmi and H. Nash,  International History Seminar on Irrigation and Drainage, Tehran-Iran May 2-5, 2007

Stargazing in Traditional Water Management: a case study in Northern Oman, H Nash  Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 37, 2007: 157-170

Groundwater Supply of Slatina City Endangered by Contaminants from the River Olt, Romania, with Irina Dinu, Marius Albu  and Victor Moldoveanu, in Groundwater in the Urban Environment, Volume 1: Processes and Management, Chilton et al (eds), Balkema 1997: 389-394

The Rise, Fall and Potential Renaissance of the English Spa Town, D Banks and H Nash, in Groundwater in the Urban Environment, Volume 1: Processes and Management, Chilton et al (eds), Balkema 1997: 291-296.

Report of a Workshop on Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment 4-14 June 1994, Amman, Jordan, eds J Bartram and H Nash.  GEMS Report Series No 3, UNEP, Nairobi, June 1995.

Vulnerability to Pollution of Karst Aquifer System in Southern Dobrogea, with Florian Zamfirescu (main author) et al., Proceedings International Hydrogeology Symposium, Constantza, Romania, May 1994: 591-602.

Pilot scheme for rehabilitation of wells in South Darfur, Hunting Technical Services Report 381AZ, 1990.

Water Supply in a Rural Area of White Nile Province Proceedings 2nd International Conference, Sudan Societies of UK and USA and Inst African and Asian Studies, U of Khartoum, Durham, UK, 1991: 307-314.

Modern and Fossil Groundwater in an Arid Environment: A look at the hydrogeology of Southern Oman, Ian Clark et al., International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) SM 299/15, Vienna, 1987: 167-187.

Review of Hydrogeology and Groundwater Resource Studies in the Sudan, Report WD/OS/79/23, Institute of Geological Sciences, UK, 1979.

Groundwater Resources of the Sahel, Report WD/OS/77/3 Institute of Geological Sciences, UK, 1977.

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