Journal of Islamic Archaeology 2022-09-12T22:18:29+00:00 Bethany Walker Open Journal Systems <p>The Journal of Islamic Archaeology is the only journal today devoted to the field of Islamic archaeology on a global scale. The term refers to the archaeological study of Islamic societies, polities, and communities, wherever they are found. It may be considered a type of “historical” archaeology, in which the study of historically (textually) known societies can be studied through a combination of “texts and tell”. <a href="">Read more</a>.</p> Something Ends, Something Begins 2022-07-27T23:38:10+00:00 José C Carvajal López 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Quantitative Analysis of Ceramics and the Formation of the Archaeological Record in Madinat Ilbirah (Granada, Spain) 2022-07-27T23:41:20+00:00 Miguel Jiménez Puertas <p>This paper offers a study of a particular assemblage of ceramics retrieved in a pit in the Islamic town of Madinat Ilbirah (Granada, Spain) to analyse the processes of formation of the archaeological record. This can in turn provide interesting information on the patterns of use and discard of ceramics, and so contribute to a general picture of quotidian social practices in an Islamic town. The theoretical apparatus of the paper combines insights extracted from the works of M. B. Schiffer, well known for his contribution to the study of site formation processes, and methodological ideas by C. Orton, specialist on quantitative analysis of ceramics. These ideas have been circulated and debated by archaeologists for decades, but they have been scarcely applied to the debate on Islamic ceramics in al-Andalus. In this study they are adapted to the particular conditions of the pit assemblage in Ilbirah. The results of this analysis show that the deposit of ceramics found in the pit contains elements of two well-defined periods of early Islamic al-Andalus (late Emiral, 850–925, and Caliphal, 925–1025), and that there are at least three moments of accumulation. The earliest and latest moment of accumulation were built over a relatively long number of years, but the intermediate moment seems to correspond to a process of discarding of the elements of a single domestic unit over a period of about five to ten years. The main aim of this paper is to draw attention to the possibilities and the need of advanced quantitative research in pottery studies. It is hoped that this study will inspire similar works in other Islamic sites, so that significant comparisons can be built.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Refuse Usage and Architectural Reuse in the Field 2022-07-27T23:44:51+00:00 Itamar Taxel Joel Roskin <p>Based on the mostly unpublished finds of a 1970s excavation and the initial results of a 2020 survey and excavation of the remains of an Early Islamic Plot-and-Berm (P&amp;B) agroecosystem south of ancient Caesarea/Qaysariyya, this study discusses the agricultural incorporation of refuse in a pristine aeolian sand environment. The P&amp;B agroecosystem, characterized by anthro-terrain/earthworks of sunken agricultural plots delimited by sand berms, comprises an innovative initiative to cultivate dunefields on a high groundwater table. The key element for the sustainability of this unique agrotechnology was refuse. The refuse, extracted from nearby town dumps, included ash, carbonate, trace elements and artifacts. It was probably sorted into small artifacts and grey loam. It was then brought to the fields, not only combined to stabilize the erodible and initially unvegetated berm surface until today, but also partly altered the physical and chemical properties of the sand and increased its fertility, mainly in the plots, to form sandy loam anthrosols. The pristine aeolian sand substrate enabled a clear and quantitative stratigraphic and pedological differentiation of the refuse additions. The transportation of human waste to the fields and its incorporation into the natural sediment to form an anthrosol formed part of the “waste stream” of Caesarea’s Early Islamic population. Such human-modified soil environments by means of manuring, gained a specific signature and would have been considered “soil places” which became part of the local onomasticon of placenames and probably created “cultural soilscapes.” The clear aeolian sandy substrate makes the P&amp;B agroecosystems an excellent case study <br />on soil enrichment by refuse, and enlightens us about the relative amounts and methodologies of refuse extraction, sorting, transportation, and incorporation.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The “Cup of Pharaoh” from Samarra and the Reuse of Ancient spolia as Water Features in the medieval Islamic World 2022-07-27T23:49:29+00:00 Peter J Brown <p>This paper opens with a consideration of the biography of a large basin discovered during excavations at the Abbasid capital of Samarra. The large, circular, basin from Samarra closely matches historical descriptions of a fountain located in the city’s Congregational Mosque which became known as “kasat firun,” or the “Cup of Pharaoh” and, since its discovery, this excavated basin and the historical account of the fountain have often been conflated as one and the same. The excavated basin is carved from a non-local—and probably Egyptian—stone which may have generated its mysterious association with the Pharaonic past. A consideration of the possible sources from which such a large stone basin might have been obtained during the Islamic period, however, opens up a wider discussion related to the reuse of pre-Islamic artefacts as water features. This paper explores possible scenarios through which the basin from Samarra might have been acquired by the Abbasid caliphs alongside the logistics associated with its transport to Samarra. In addition, the likely motivations for the installation of this enigmatic stone basin are evaluated—including pragmatic reuse of an impressive piece of stonework, a symbolic statement of contemporary pre-eminence over the rulers of the past or perhaps even beliefs in the quasi-magical powers of ancient objects. Alongside this, the existence of several comparable, near-contemporary, basins, demonstrate that the reuse of objects from the past as contemporary water features in important locations, was a wider practice seen in both the Islamic world and beyond. As an object that seems to have led multiple lives, the complex biography of the basin from Samarra illuminates the ways in which material remains of the past were understood and repurposed during the Abbasid Caliphate.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Spolia and Umayyad Mosques 2022-07-27T23:52:19+00:00 Carmen González Gutiérrez <p>The use of Roman and Late-antique spolia in the erection of Umayyad infrastructures is extensively documented, from Bilad al-Sham to al-Andalus. Particularly in the latter, spolia were key in the construction of mosques, of which the Friday Mosque of Córdoba is the most paradigmatic example. The reuse of decorative and architectural materials in these religious spaces has been broadly discussed, and it has been often concluded that there were aesthetic, religious and ideological reasons, as well as strong political needs of legitimation and representation of the Umayyad dynasty. In this context, the case of the mosque of Madinat al-Zahra' is quite striking. Here, while spolia seem to have been absent, the capitals designed for its prayer room stand out for their particular characteristics, often described as resembling Visigothic models and as a product of rush. This paper aims to bring together the information available about the use of spolia in Umayyad mosques and its possible explanations, as well as to bring forward the particularities of the series of capitals designed for the mosque of Madinat al-Zahra', suggesting new ideas for their interpretation.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Islamic Lives of Iberian Megaliths 2022-07-27T23:55:33+00:00 Katina T Lillios <p>Modernist archaeology involves the dating and ordering of events, construction phases, objects, people, or processes in well-bounded and discrete sequences. The notion that objects or monuments date to one time or one cultural phase, however, is problematic, particularly in the case of large stone monuments, such as megaliths, whose construction and use are generally dated to the Neolithic, between 6000 and 2500 BCE. This paper examines the methodological challenges of such work and surveys what the archaeological record reveals about the nature of Andalusi engagements with megaliths.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Khirbat Faris: Rural Settlement, Continuity and Change in Southern Jordan: The Nabataean to Modern Periods (1st century BC–20th century AD), by Alison McQuitty, Holly Parton and Andrew Petersen. and Ancient Landscapes of Zoara I: Surveys and Excavations at the Ghor as-Safi in Jordan, 1997–2018, by Konstantinos D. Politis. 2022-07-27T23:59:08+00:00 Ian W N Jones <p>Khirbat Faris: Rural Settlement, Continuity and Change in Southern Jordan: The Nabataean to Modern Periods (1st century BC–20th century AD), by Alison McQuitty, Holly Parton and Andrew Petersen. Archaeopress Archaeology, 2020. 428pp., with 60 tables and 271 figures. Pb. £50.00, ISBN-13: 9781789693898; ePDF £16.00. ISBN-13: 9781789693904.</p> <p>Ancient Landscapes of Zoara I: Surveys and Excavations at the Ghor as-Safi in Jordan, 1997–2018, by Konstantinos D. Politis. Routledge, 2021. 304 pp., with 399 B/W figures. Hb. $160.00, ISBN-13: 9780367622800; ePDF $48.95, ISBN-13: 9781003108696.</p> 2022-09-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd.