Sphero-conical Vessels from the Ayyubid Wall in Cairo

A Typology (11th–15th c.)


  • Julie Monchamp Institut français d’archéologie orientale, Cairo




medieval Cairo, spher-conical vessels, typology, Aswan clay


During the archaeological excavations along the medieval walls of Cairo, undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Services and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, a large amount of pottery has been discovered that can be dated from the Fatimid Period until the modern times. Within the Ayyubid and Mamluk layers a number of sphero-conical vessels have been identified. Made from a hard dense clay, these vessels are cooked to a high temperature and are coated with a purplish slip that sometimes appears shiny. The stratigraphy of the site has unfortunately not provided any clue concerning the function of these artefacts; however, very useful information with regard to dating can be understood. These containers can be divided into two different chronological groupings: Firstly, the Ayyubid era, which can be divided in two sub-groups; and secondly, the Mamluk era, represented by vessels exhibiting incised “scales” as decoration and in rare cases, a glazed surface. A number of similar containers from the Fatimid era can be added to the chronological-typology in order to show a kind of “prototype” to these spheroconical vessels. These vessels seem to be made of the same type of clay and are coated with the same slip.


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How to Cite

Monchamp, J. (2017). Sphero-conical Vessels from the Ayyubid Wall in Cairo: A Typology (11th–15th c.). Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 3(2), 195–207. https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.v3i2.32827