Mr Michael Macdonald works on the languages, inscriptions, and history of pre-Islamic Arabia and the ways in which literacy was used in the ancient Near East. He has also written on the ancient history of the nomads of the Middle East, the pre-Islamic Arabs, and the rock art of the Syro-Arabian deserts.
At present, Macdonald is the academic director of the "Ancient Arabia: Languages and Cultures" project, based at the Khalili Research Centre in Oxford, which has created a website to make available large amounts of previously unpublished material on the ancient history and languages of Arabia. He is also co-directing a project to create an online Corpus of the nearly 50,000 inscriptions from Ancient North and Central Arabia known so far. Since 2010, he has also been working on the inscriptions found by the Saudi-German Archaeological Mission at the ancient oasis of Tayma in north-western Arabia and preparing a catalogue of the inscriptions in the Tayma Museum.