Introduction to Islamic Archaeology

Module titleIntroduction to Islamic Archaeology
Module codeARA1030
Academic year2020/1
Credits15
Module staff

Dr John Cooper (Convenor)

Professor Timothy Insoll (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

10

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this multidisciplinary module you will be introduced to the importance of material culture as a way of understanding Muslim societies of the past, and of better understanding Islam in the present. The module aims to familiarise you with the rich diversity of Islamic culture through archaeological, historical and ethnographic evidence.

You will develop critical skills in the following areas: the theory of material culture and archaeology with particular reference to Islamic cultures; the treatment of Islam and Islamic societies within the history of art, archaeology and material cultural studies; the use ethnography as a tool of research; and the methodologies and practices of archaeology.

Beyond the use of archaeology to merely understand historical phenomena, you will be introduced to innovative approaches to the study of Islamic societies, in particular, to the combined use of textual documentation, ethnological analogies, and the archaeological record.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This multidisciplinary module is designed to introduce students to the importance of material culture as a way of understanding Muslim societies of the past, and of better understanding Islam in the present. The module aims also to familiarise students with the rich diversity of Islamic culture through archaeological, historical and ethnographic evidence.

Students will develop critical skills in the following areas: the theory of material culture and archaeology with particular reference to Islamic cultures; the treatment of Islam and Islamic societies within the history of art, archaeology and material cultural studies; the use ethnography as a tool of research; and the methodologies and practices of archaeology.

Beyond the use of archaeology to merely understand historical phenomena, students will be introduced to innovative approaches to the study of Islamic societies, in particular, to the combined use of textual documentation, ethnological analogies, and the archaeological record.

Particular aspects of past and present Islamic material culture will be analysed, including religious and domestic environments, cities and settlement types, art and architecture, death and burial, manufacturing and trade. Emphasis will be placed on the past and present maritime trade routes, navigation techniques and boatbuilding traditions in the Red Sea and Arabian/Persian Gulf.

Assignment and exercises are intended to stimulate the critical interpretation of the spoken and written word, and of artefacts from past and present material culture.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. understand the different methodologies for the study of past and present material cultures;
  • 2. analyse aspects of Islam across time and space using the material evidence;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. describe the material culture evidence in an appropriate and comprehensive manner and to research a topic;
  • 4. demonstrate understanding of archaeological methods and approaches, written sources and ethnographic methods;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. prepare and deliver individual presentations using appropriate visual aids;
  • 6. development your research, analytical and writing skills using different interpretative and methodological approaches;
  • 7. write essays, give class presentations, and take part in discussions;
  • 8. read critically and carefully from a list of texts.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will be based on lectures (10 x 2 hrs) and seminars (1 x 2 hrs). Lectures will be occasionally followed by students’ individual discussions of reading assignments. Some visual materials will be used in the module

1. Introduction: Defining the material culture and archaeology of Islam.

2. Introduction to ethnography and historical texts in the understanding of Islamic material culture.

3. The art and the architecture of Islam.

4. The built environment and the “Islamic city”.

5. The individual and the domestic.

6. Death and burial.

7. Manufacturing.

8. Islamic pottery.

9. Navigation and Trade.

10. Boatbuilding traditions.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
22128

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2010 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities21 x 2 hour seminar
Guided independent study128Guided Independent Study

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussions in lecturesDuring lectures1-4, 7Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
80020

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment301,500 words1-4, 6-8Mark and written comments
Written assignment502,000 words1-4, 6-8Mark and written comments
Individual presentation with slides and handouts 2015 minutes (1,000 words)1-5, 7Mark, oral and written comments

Re-assessment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment (1,500 words)Written assignment (1,500 words)1-4, 6-8August/September re-assessment period
Written assignment (2,000 words)Written assignment (2,000 words)1-4, 6-8August/September re-assessment period
Individual presentation with slides and handoutsWritten summary of presentation (1,000 words) with copies of slides and handouts 1-4, 6-8August/September re-assessment period

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Dionisius A. Agius. 1984. Arabic Literary Works as a Source of Documentation for Technical Terms of the Material Culture. Berlin : Klaus Schwarz.

Dionisius A. Agius. 2005. Seafaring in the Arabian Gulf and Oman: The People of the Dhow. London : Kegan Paul Ltd.

Dionisius A. Agius. 2008. Classic ships of Islam: from Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean. Leiden : Brill.

Glassé, C. 2001. The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam. London : Stacey International.

Gamble, C. 2001. Archaeology: The Basics. London: Routledge, pp. 1-2; 45-72.

Johnson, M. 1999. Archaeology Theory: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Hourani, A. H. 1991. A history of the Arab peoples. Imprint London : Faber.

Insoll, T. 1999. The Archaeology of Islam. Oxford : Blackwell.

Insoll, T. 2003. The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, H. 2007. The great Arab conquests : how the spread of Islam changed the world we live in. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Milwright, M. 2010. An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology. New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys.

Fehérvári, G. 2000. Ceramics of the Islamic world in the Tareq Rajab Museum. London : I.B. Tauris.

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 1991. Archaeology. London: Thames and Hudson. See Table of Contents.

Rodinson, M. 1973 Mohammed. Middlesex : Penguin.

Ruthven, M. with Nanji, A. 2004. Historical Atlas of the Islamic World. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

 

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Islamic Archaeology

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

4

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

01/10/09

Last revision date

05/03/2020