The Early Islamic Pottery from the Monastery at al-Qusur

Authors

  • Julie Bonnéric Institut français du Proche-Orient

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.18272

Keywords:

pottery, Early Islamic period, Sasanian, Eastern Christianity, Islamization, Arab-Persian Guld

Abstract

The pottery discovered at al-Qusur (Failaka Island, Kuwait) is of first importance to clarify the
dating of the Christian settlements of the Arab-Persian Gulf. Firstly attributed to the Sasanian
period by their excavators on the base of pottery and stucco studies, theses sites were then
attributed to the Early Islamic period by other scholars according to the artefacts published.
Complete catalogues of the materiel unearthed on these sites are still lacking. This article offers a
first overview of the pottery discovered at al-Qu??r by the French Mission in Kuwait in 1988–1989
and in 2007–2009 in two buildings identified as two churches (A1 and A2), two courtyard houses
(B1 and B8), and seven isolated buildings (B2–B7 and B9). The corpus was incomplete due to the
loss of sherds from 1988 and 1989 campaigns during the Gulf war and to the treatment of part
of the pottery discovered from 2007 to 2009. If quantification was meaningless and petrography
impossible, this corpus reflects the cultural proximity of the site with Mesopotamia and Persia
and diagnostic sherds such as pitchers with gouged lines or pointed circles with incised lines and
gouged motifs, stamped sherds, carinated turquoise-glazed cups, attest that the main occupation
of the site is related to an Early Islamic period. This dating is consistent with other Christian sites
in the region, contradicting both Arabic and Syriac sources that propounded the disappearance
of Christianity as soon as the beginnings of Islam.

Author Biography

Julie Bonnéric, Institut français du Proche-Orient

Julie Bonnéric is an archaeologist and co-director of the French-Kuwaiti Archaeological Mission
in Failaka. One of her research projects, led at the French Center for Archaeology & Social
Sciences (Cefas, Kuwait), focused on Christianity in the Arab-Persian Gulf and southern Iraq
at the beginning of Islam. As a PhD student at the EPHE-Sorbonne (Paris, France) and Junior
Fellow at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg (Bonn, Germany), she explored lighting in Near East
mosques from a historical anthropological point of view, relying on Arabic textual, architectural
and iconographic sources. She is now research fellow at the French Institute of the Near
East (IFPO) and the head of the Amman Office, where she will lead a project on the marginalization
of the Antique city of Jerash from the late Antiquity to the end of the Mamluk period.

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Published

2020-11-07

How to Cite

Bonnéric, J. (2020). The Early Islamic Pottery from the Monastery at al-Qusur. Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 7(1), 21–38. https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.18272

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