Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa from Late Antiquity to the Ottoman period. First series: Lebanon & Jordan
As part of the webinar series Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa from Late Antiquity to the Ottoman period, the Ifpo is pleased to announce the first series of meetings that will focus on Lebanon and Jordan and will take place every two weeks during the year 2021 (January-July & September-December).
The goal of this series of conferences is to bring together specialists working on a broad region extending from North Africa to the Middle East and focusing on the period from Late Antiquity to Modern era. As the current pandemic is forcing us to reinvent ways of communicating and sharing our work, a webinar would be an opportunity to reconnect the academic community of researchers working on this field. It is open as widely as possible and aims to gather together archaeologists working on this large area as well as students.
While other regions will be addressed in the following cycles, this first series focuses on archaeology and material culture of Lebanon and Jordan. These meetings will present, on the one hand, ongoing projects and, on the other hand, comparative data and synthesis studies, which will allow to frame this region into a broader historical and geographical context.
Free access on registration for each session via this link : https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwqcO2przkiH9ZoNZohNh0Vtd-Kkeud7_HE
April, the 8th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Restore and rehabilitate Al-Qastal mosque, by Ahmad Lash (Department of Antiquities of Jordan)
Al-Qastal, considered as one of the most famous Umayyad ruin in Jordan, is located 35 km south of Amman. The most significant part in this site is the Umayyad mosque and his unique minaret, probably the oldest Islamic minaret still standing in the Islamic world. The mosque was in a very bad and dangerous situation. This paper will focus on the restoration, rehabilitation, and protection works, particularly the reconstruction of the western wall, the protection of the courtyard and the restoration and rehabilitation for the internal part of the mosque. as well as the question of the Mesopotamians influences which appeared in the Umayyad monuments in Transjordan in the eight century AD.
Ahmad Lash is the Head of the Archaeological Loans and external collaboration Sector, at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. He obtained his BA in Archaeology from the University of Jordan in 1997, and has since worked on a wide variety of projects in archaeology and heritage throughout the country. In addition to the Azraq Community Archaeology Program, he is a head of Roots project which aim to digitize, sort and protect all the old archive at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, he has been closely involved in the development of the MEGA Jordan database system, and he led the restoration and excavations at the “desert castles” sites of Al-Azraq, Amra, Tuba, Mushatta and Qastal.
April, the 22th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Crossing Medieval and Islamic Studies in Jordan. Medieval Petra and Shawbak in cc. 11-14: a Light Archaeology.
Michele Nucciotti (University of Florence)
May, the 6th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Umm as-Surab (north-eastern Jordan): Settlement Dynamics in the Islamic periods. New data from Building Archaeology
Piero Gilento (CNRS UMR 7041 ArScAn – Ifpo)
May, the 20th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Ablution rooms of mosques in medieval Near East
Marie-Odile Rousset (CNRS UMR 5133 Archéorient)
June, the 3rd (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Overview on the archeological research in the Shouf Mountains from late Antiquity to the Maan dynasty
Wissam Khalil (Lebanese University)
June, the 17th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
Recent landscape archaeology in the Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, Kesrouan, Lebanon: the medieval to modern periods
Stephen McPhillips (Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa)
July sessions will be announced soon
January, the 28th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
The Rural Renaissance of Mamluk Jordan: Tall Hisban in Context, by Bethany J. Walker (University of Bonn)
The recent “rural turn” in Islamic archaeology is nowhere more evident than in the rapidly growing interest in the Middle Islamic period in Jordan. The 13th-14th centuries CE is a rich time culturally and historically. Having documented the Mamluk-era phases of construction and reuse of the Crusader and Ayyubid castles, archaeologists are now turning to the extensive archaeological remains of rural settlements to reconstruct daily life in small communities. As most of what stands above ground is Mamluk in date, and the Citadel and village houses are quite well preserved, the site of Tall Ḥisbān has become the type-site of this period in Jordan.
This lecture will summarize the rather surprising results of the last two decades of fieldwork at this site, and what light it sheds on such issues as rural revival, peasant migration, agrarian knowledge and crafts, family life, and the relationship between Jordanian villages and the Mamluk state.
Bethany Walker (PhD 1998, University of Toronto, Middle Eastern Studies) is a Research Professor at the University of Bonn, where she holds the Chair of Mamluk Studies and directs the Research Unit of Islamic Archaeology in the Department of Islamic Studies. She was also the co-director of Bonn’s Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg, a Center for Advanced Research in Mamluk Studies. A historically trained archaeologist and Arabist, Walker directs multiple archaeological projects in Jordan and abroad, including the excavations at Tall Ḥisbān. Prof. Walker is founding editor of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology, founding co-editor of Equinox’s Monographs in Islamic Archaeology, and co-editor of the recently published Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology; serves on numerous American and French editorial boards; and is a long-time Board member of the American Center of Research in Amman. Her monograph Jordan in the Late Middle Ages: Transformation of the Mamluk Frontier was published by Chicago Press in 2011. She has worked in Jordan for over twenty years.
February, the 11th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
The Role of the Islamic Coins in Reading the History of a Site: Baalbak and Beirut as example, by Hassan Akra (Lebanese University)
Coins have not only an economic function, as a medium of exchange, but also other relevant functions: for instance, they can be a propaganda instrument intended to propagate the ideology of a political or/and religious power in place. The economic aspect revealed through the material aspect of coins, namely their intrinsic value (weight and alloy), makes it possible to perceive the financial and monetary policy of a State at a specific moment in its history and reflects as well the vicissitudes and vagaries of the political or economic situation as it may appear at the time of the strike. However, the coins legend – « any inscription appearing on the obverse and/or reverse of a coin: a name, a title, an indication of the mint, value, a date, a religious motto or not …” (Dictionnaire de Numismatique 2001) – is also rich in information. Here we will focus mainly on these data and their evolution throughout the medieval period.
By crossing these data both with written sources (especially chronicles of historians of the time) and archaeological documentation, coins become a tool of great importance. On the one hand, they enable us to read the history of a site or a city: in this context, we will present here the history of Baalbek in medieval times through coins (636-1516). On the other hand, coin hoards will help to fill monetary and/or historical gaps on a very precise period: in this context, we will present the Abbasid hoard discovered in Beirut and the Crusaders hoard discovered in Sarepta/Sarfand.
Dr. Hassan Al-Akra holds a PhD in “Archeology, History and Documents” from Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) in Paris. He is specialized in numismatic studies of the medieval period.
He is currently Assistant Professor at the Lebanese University, at the Department of Arts and Archeology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Section 3 – Tripoli. He is researcher at the National Museum of Beirut, where he is studying medieval coins (from Islamic and Crusaders periods) and co-director of the archaeological project at Abu-l-Hasan Fort, a fort of the Medieval period, in Sfaray/Jezzine. He is instructor at the Ministry of Tourism, where he teaches the course “Archeological sites” for the diploma in Tourist Guidance.
He published several articles about the political and religious change in the Middle East through the study of coins, and he has given many seminaries on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage of religious and historical sites and museums.
His books “L’Histoire de Baalbek à l’époque médiévale d’après les monnaies” (Presses de l’Ifpo) won the prize of “Medaille Drouin” from the French Academy and the Samir Shamma Prize from the British Museum in 2018.
Since 2018, he is the General Director of the Lebanese National Library.
February, the 25th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
The Late Petra Project: settlement in post-urban Petra, by Micaela Sinibaldi (Shanghai International Studies University – Cardiff University)
The Late Petra Project aims at reconstructing the history of the Islamic period in the Petra valley and broader region; the project has demonstrated that there were no significant chronological gaps in the occupation of the area during the Islamic period and therefore that the region was never completely abandoned. The project has involved fieldwork with several international archaeological teams working in Petra, including the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project. The Islamic Baydha Project, which is a key component of the Late Petra Project, investigates a rural village consisting of the most substantial available evidence of the Islamic period in the Petra region, and including the only two mosques ever excavated in the region. The project takes a holistic approach where the components of research, training and community engagement all work in close synergy.
Dr. Micaela Sinibaldi is a Visiting Professor at the Shanghai International Studies University, Institute for the Global History of Civilizations and a Honorary Research Fellow at the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University. She is the Director of the Islamic Baydha Project in Petra. Micaela specializes in the archaeology of the Islamic and Crusader periods in the Levant. After obtaining a PhD from Cardiff University with a thesis on the Crusader period in the Lordship of Transjordan, she has held post-doctoral positions at Humboldt-Universität and Freie Universität, Berlin and at the Council for British Research in the Levant and she has served as acting Deputy Director at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem (Council for British Research in the Levant). With K. Lewis, J. Thompson and B. Major she has co-edited Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant. The Archaeology and History of the Latin East, University of Wales Press (2016).
March, the 11th (3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
The medieval heritage of Anfeh and its neighborhood (North Lebanon), by Patricia Antaki (University of Balamand)
The investigations conducted in the region of Anfeh in North Lebanon by the Department of Archaeology and Museology of the university of Balamand since 2011 have unveiled the rich past of this coastal town. One of the main periods that has been highlighted is the medieval period and especially the Crusader one during which Anfeh had the status of a lordship of the County of Tripoli. The archaeological evidence includes the remains of a fortress and its triple ditch erected on a long peninsula as well as several religious buildings scattered in Anfeh and its surroundings. Artisanal installations like oil presses have come to light in various places. Moreover, the medieval occupation in almost every surveyed sector of the region is attested by the substantial amount of uncovered material which consists mainly of a large variety of pottery, both local and imported.
Dr. Patricia Antaki is a PhD medieval archaeologist and director of the Department of Archaeology and Museology of the University of Balamand in North Lebanon. Her research interests and publications are mostly related to the archaeology of the Crusader period in Lebanon and the Levantine region. These include studies of Frankish settlements (Beirut, Tyre, Anfeh, Beaufort …), fortifications’ examinations (Tyre city-walls, Beirut citadel, Beaufort fortress, Sidon sea castle, fortified harbours, fortified caves …) as well as churches’ and monasteries’ investigations (cathedral of Tyre, Holy Saviour chapel of Tyre, Saint George Greek-Orthodox cathedral of Beirut, Cistercian abbey of Balamand, chapels of Jbeil and Batroun mountains…). Her field of research also covers various aspects of the material culture of the Crusades such as masons’ marks, sundials, church piscinas, acoustic jars, graffiti, oil lamps and board games.
April 1(3h-4h PM CET, 4h-5h PM in Amman & Beirut)
The Umayyad and early Abbasid Reservoir-Enclosure of ‘Ayn Sawdā(Azraq Oasis, Jordan), by Lorraine Abu-Azizeh, Julie Bonnéric, Barbara Couturaud, Aurélien Stavy (Ifpo)
The ‘Ayn Sawdā spring is located at the centre of the Azraq oasis, in the Eastern Desert of Jordan. It is enclosed by a long wall previously interpreted as a huge water reservoir. The site is mostly known thanks to the discovery of many basalt blocks with mortise and tenon joints, several being carved with figurative representations in bas and high reliefs. It forms an exceptional archaeological collection with no known iconographic parallel. Faced by uncertainties concerning both the function and the dating of the structure, the Azraq ‘Ayn Sawdā Reservoir Project undertook in 2013-2016 a topographical plan, an inventory of the carved blocks, excavations, architectural study and preservation assessment. This work led to interpret the site as a multipurpose agricultural enclosure including water facilities, reviling very original and various building technics, dated to the Umayyad period and probably reconfigured at the beginning of the Abbassid times.
Lorraine Abu Azizeh is a French architect, specialised on culture heritage conservation and restoration. She has been working for more than 10 years, as well in architecture offices in France as on archaeological sites contexts in the Middle East. She has been leading the Azraq Ayn Sawda Reservoir Project.
Julie Bonnéric is an archaeologist, currently researcher at the French Institute of the Near East and head of Amman branch. She is a specialist of early and middle Islamic periods in the Middle East and her research focuses on the religious and social evolutions following the conquests. She excavated in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Libya and Qatar and she is the co-director of the French-Kuwaiti Archaeological Mission in Failaka and leads the excavation of al-Qusur monastery (Kuwait).
Barbara Couturaud is an archaeologist, specialized in ancient Near east in the Early Bronze Age. She has participated in various excavations in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait, ranging from Late chalcolithic to Medieval period. Since 2018, she is a researcher at the Ifpo in Erbil.
Aurélien Stavy is a French architect and urbanist based in Paris. Wishing to address the various issues of sustainable land development, he promotes an interdisciplinary practice: architecture, urban planning, environmental consultant, and archaeological research. He joined the Azraq Ayn Sawda Reservoir Project as a consultant on traditionnal building techniques and agricultural facilities.