New Publication: The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology, edited by Bethany Walker, Timothy Insoll, & Corisande Fenwick

Born from the fields of Islamic art and architectural history, the archaeological study of the Islamic societies is a relatively young discipline. With its roots in the colonial periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its rapid development since the 1980s warrants a reevaluation of where the field stands today. This Handbook represents for the first time a survey of Islamic archaeology on a global scale, describing its disciplinary development and offering candid critiques of the state of the field today in the Central Islamic Lands, the Islamic West, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. The international contributors to the volume address such themes as the timing and process of Islamization, the problems of periodization and regionalism in material culture, cities and countryside, cultural hybridity, cultural and religious diversity, natural resource management, international trade in the later historical periods, and migration. Critical assessments of the ways in which archaeologists today engage with Islamic cultural heritage and local communities closes the volume, highlighting the ethical issues related to studying living cultures and religions. Richly illustrated, with extensive citations, it is the reference work on the debates that drive the field today.

You can pre-order the book here.

Table of Contents:

Section One – Editors’ Introduction (Walker, Insoll, and Fenwick)

Section Two – Central Islamic Lands
Section Introduction (Bethany J. Walker)
Chapter 1. Northern Syria (Marie-Odile Rousset)
Chapter 2. Southern Syria (Bethany J. Walker)
Chapter 3. Mesopotamia (Alastair Northedge)
Chapter 4. Egypt (Alison Gascoigne)
Chapter 5. Persia (Rocco Rante)
Chapter 6. Medieval Anatolia (Scott Redford)
Chapter 7. Ottoman Anatolia (Filiz Yeni?ehirlio?lu)
Chapter 8. Arabia and the Gulf (Andrew Petersen)
Chapter 9. Ottoman Europe (Ibolya Gerelyes, Vesna Bikic, Svitlana Bilyayeva, Niculina Dinu, and Athanasios Vionis)

Section Three – The Islamic West
Section Introduction (Corisande Fenwick)
Chapter 1. North Africa (Corisande Fenwick)
Chapter 2.Morocco and the Western Maghreb (Abdallah Fili)
Chapter 3. Saharan Africa (Sam Nixon)
Chapter 4. al-Andalus (Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret and Patrice Cressier)
Chapter 5. Sicily and the central Mediterranean (Alessandra Molinari)
Chapter 6. Northern Europe and Scandinavia (Marek Jankowiak)

Section Four – Sub-Saharan Africa
Section Introduction (Timothy Insoll)
Chapter 1. The Eastern African coast (Jeffrey Fleisher and Stephanie Wynne-Jones)
Chapter 2. The Nilotic Sudan (Intisar Soghayroun El Zein)
Chapter 3. Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (Timothy Insoll)
Chapter 4. West Africa (Timothy Insoll)
Chapter 5. The Central Sudan and Sahel (Carlos Magnavita and Abubakar Sani Sule)

Section Five – Asia
Section Introduction (Timothy Insoll)
Chapter 1. Central Asia (Pierre Siméon)
Chapter 2. South Asia (Mehrdad Shokoohy and Natalie H. Shokoohy)
Chapter 4. China (Jackie Armijo)
Chapter 5. Southeast Asia (Alexander Wain)

Section Six – Islamic Archaeology Today: Heritage Management and Community Development
Section Introduction: Moving Beyond the “Academy”: Islamic Archaeology and Heritage Management (Bert de Vries)
Chapter 1. Community Engagement in Site Presentation (Øystein S. LaBianca, Maria Elena Ronza, and Noël Harris)
Chapter 2. Heritage in Context (Nasser Rabbat)
Chapter 3. “Islamic” and “Western” Concepts of Heritage Compared (Trinidad Rico)
Chapter 4. War and Recovery (Stephennie Mulder)
Chapter 5. Islamic archaeologies and narratives about the Islamic heritage in three peninsulas (Jose Carvajal, Jelena Zivkovic, Al Kindi Al Jawabra, and Reem Lababidi)



Bethany Walker is Research Professor and Director of the Islamic Archaeology Research Unit at the University of Bonn, Germany. A historically trained archaeologist and specialist of peasant societies, her archaeological fieldwork in the eastern Mediterranean spans nearly thirty years. Walker is the Senior Editor of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology and serves on the Board of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman.

Corisande Fenwick is Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at UCL. Awarded her PhD in 2013 from Stanford University, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University and the University of Leicester before moving to London in 2015. She has published extensively on Islamic North Africa, and currently directs field projects in Morocco and Tunisia. 

Timothy Insoll was educated at the Universities of Sheffield (BA, 1992), and Cambridge (PhD, 1996). He was awarded a Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Cambridge (1995) and was appointed lecturer at the University of Manchester in 1998 and was awarded a personal chair in 2005. In 2016 he was appointed to an Al-Qasimi Professorship at the University of Exeter. He is the author or editor of several books and special journal issues, and numerous articles and reviews. He has completed archaeological fieldwork in Mali, Ghana, western India, Bahrain, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Uganda.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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