by Bethany Walker, Timothy Insoll, Corisande Fenwick (Editors)
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition
Publication date: November 6, 2020
Hardcover: 792 pages
The study of Islamic societies through archaeology, stemming from the realms of Islamic art and architectural history, is a relatively recent discipline. Originating in the colonial periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its significant growth since the 1980s necessitates a reassessment of its current status.
The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology stands as a comprehensive reference, delving into the archaeology of the Islamic world from the 7th century to the contemporary era. As part of the Oxford Handbooks series, renowned for its in-depth explorations of various academic fields, this handbook, edited by leading scholar Timothy Insoll, marks the first global survey of Islamic archaeology.
Bringing together insights from over 40 experts, the book is organized into six sections, each covering distinct regions and time periods, such as the early Islamic period, medieval Islamic world, Ottoman period, and modern era.
Contributors explore themes like Islamization processes, challenges in periodization and regionalism in material culture, urban and rural landscapes, cultural diversity, and international trade. Encompassing architecture, ceramics, textiles, numismatics, and trade, the book adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on historical texts, archaeological data, and scientific analyses.
The volume’s strength lies in its critical evaluations of how contemporary archaeologists engage with Islamic cultural heritage and local communities, addressing ethical considerations related to studying living cultures and religions. Richly illustrated and extensively cited, it serves as a reference work elucidating the current debates in the field.
Bethany Walker, Research Professor and Director of the Islamic Archaeology Research Unit at the University of Bonn, Germany, specializes in historically informed archaeology and peasant societies. As Senior Editor of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology, she contributes invaluable expertise to the field.
Corisande Fenwick, Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at UCL, holds a PhD from Stanford University and has conducted extensive research on Islamic North Africa. With field projects in Morocco and Tunisia, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the exploration of Islamic archaeology.
Timothy Insoll, Al-Qasimi Professor at the University of Exeter, is a distinguished scholar with extensive academic contributions. His archaeological fieldwork in various regions, including Mali, Ghana, India, Bahrain, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Uganda, reflects his commitment to advancing our understanding of the Islamic world’s history and archaeology.