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Heritage Hall 360D
(205) 934-8699

Research and Teaching Interests: Roman Near East, early Christianity, early Islam

Office Hours: M/W 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.


  • B.A./B.S., North Carolina State University, History/Chemistry
  • M.A., North Carolina State University, History
  • Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 2008, History

Walter Ward studies the history and archaeology of the Mediterranean/Near East during antiquity and the early medieval period, with a primary focus on the role of the Roman Empire in the Middle East. His research primarily examines the interaction between Greek, Roman, and local cultures and religions in the Near East in the first millennium C.E. His first book, Mirage of the Saracen: Christians and Nomads in the Sinai Peninsula in Late Antiquity (UC Press, 2014), was awarded the Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Prize. His second book, Near Eastern Cities from Alexander to the Successors of Muhammad (2019), was recently published by Routledge. Dr. Ward has also edited The Socio-economic History and Material Culture of the Roman and Byzantine Near East: Essays in Honor of S. Thomas Parker (Gorgias Press, 2017) and, with Denis Gainty, Sources of World Societies (Bedford/St Martins, 2011).

Dr. Ward has extensive experience living in the Middle East as both a researcher and archaeologist and regularly teaches courses about the ancient and medieval Middle East. He was inspired to devote his life to the subject after spending the summer between his sophomore and junior years at NC State excavating the ancient town of Aila (modern Aqaba, Jordan).

  • Recent Courses
    • World History to 1600 CE
    • History of the Roman Empire
    • Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
    • History of Ancient Greece
    • Clash of Civilizations
    • Arabia, Islam, and the Byzantine Empire
    • Athens and Sparta
    • From Alexander to Muhammad: The archaeology of the ancient Near East c. 323 BCE - 750 CE
    • Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Select Publications


    Book Chapters:

    • "Eusebius's Onomasticon and the Transfer of the X Fretensis from Jerusalem to Aila," Limes 2012 (forthcoming).
    • "Early Christian Pilgrimages, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Red Sea," in Connected Hinterlands: Proceedings of the Red Sea Project IV, Lucy Blue et al., eds. (Archaeopress, 2009), 187-94.


    • "'In the Province Recently Called Palestine Salutaris': Provincial Changes in Palestine and Arabia in the Late Third and Fourth Centuries C.E," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 181 (2012): 289-302.
  • Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships
    • Second Runner Up, Whetstone/Seaman Faculty Development Award, Alabama Humanities Foundation, 2013
    • UAB Faculty Development Grant, 2012
    • Samuel H. Kress Foundation Research Fellow in the Art and Archaeology of Jordan, American Center of Oriental Research, Amman, Jordan, 2006/2007