Here you can learn about the Madain Project in some depth. This page is regulary updated and the definitions keep evolving, so keep an eye on it to have the latest information about the Project. For more information on how to use the Madain Project Archives and copyright related questions please see this article.
[Section 01] Regarding Madain Project
The following section pertains to the frequently asked questions about Madain Project and its scope of work.
- What is Madain Project?
Madain Project is an online archive of Abrahamic History and Archaeology.
- What is Abrahamic History?
Abrahamic History is the study of history and archaeology with respect to the three Abrahamic Faiths without considering the religious and theological aspects [N1]. The goal of Abrahamic History is to understand how and why the religious doctrines and behaviours have evlovled and changed over time. Searching for patterns in the evolution of significant cultural events such as the development of farming, the emergence of cities, or the collapse of major civilizations for clues of why and how these have influenced the three major Abrahamic religions.
The core of the Madain Project in the context of Abrahamic History is to study the fields of history and archaeology beyond the and specific nationalist or religious (dogma) agendas and promoting a new (linear), inclusive vision of history that highlights and celebrates the interconnections, cross-fertilisations, exchanges and cooperation between the three Abrahamic Faiths.
- What is Abrahamic Archaeology?
The Abrahamic Archaeology is the study of archaeology with respect to the three Abrahamic Faiths without considering the religious and theological aspects. [N2] While the methods and analytical procedures followed in this specialism generally derive from other branches of history and archaeology, it is still not clear to what extent the Abrahamic archaeology should be defined specifically with respect to the study of the material record of Abrahamic faiths, traditions and practices.
- What is Bible Archaeology?
The Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible, be they from the Old Testament (Tanakh) or from the New Testament, as well as the history and cosmogony of the Judeo-Christian religions [R3][R4][R5].
- What is Islamic Archaeology?
The Islamic Archaeology [R1][R2] is a specialism within the discipline of archaeology. The term Islamic archaeology may be broadly defined as the examination of the physical remains of human activity and of the wider environment in regions of the world where the ruling elite professed the faith of Islam.
- Why does archaeology matter?
The science of archaeology helps us to better understand what has happened over the years, how we lived, and how did those circumstances shape our understanding of the modern world. Archaeology gives us the tools to examine and explain human behaviour, understand how society functions, learn from the past and apply those lessons to the present, and analyse the drivers and implications of a changing world and how different countries, places and cultures interact.
- Is this a religious project?
No, Madain Project is not a religious project, we're only concerned with history and archaeology of the three Abrahamic Faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam [N2]. The Madain Project is based on a precise methodology facilitating interaction between the partners who contribute to a transnational presentation of history, art and culture, based on equal voices and the equal visibility of all concerned.
- What does "Madain" mean?
The word Madain (مدائن), also spelled Madayen or Madayin comes from the Arabic language and and is the plural form of term "Madn" (مدن). The term Madn can refer to either a city, dwelling, residence and term Madain would refer to cities, dwellings. The term Madain is also used to refer to the Madain Saleh (city or dwellings of Saleh) alternate name of al-Hijr, an archaeological site in Arabia.
- Archaeological & excavation activities?
Currently Madain Project is not directly involved in any field work regarding archaeological digs and excavations, but we do collaborate with archaeological bodies and excavation institutes.
- Content Production?
Encyclopedic articles on the Madain Project website are produced and overseen by the editors who have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.
[Section 02] Regarding Abrahamic History and Archaeology
The following section pertains to the frequently asked questions about hows and whys of the Abrahamic History and Archaeology.
- What is the timeframe of Abrahamic History?
The known timeframe or periods concerned with Abrahamic history depend on the geographic divisions. In its broadest scope, starting with the Neolithic age (circa 8500–4300 BCE), covering the Chalcolithic period, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Babylonian period, Persian Period, Hellenistic Period, Roman Period in the history and archaeology of Syro-Palestinian-Mesopotamian-Egyptian (essentially fertile crescent) regions due to the fact that during these periods the Abrahamic tradition was mostly concentrated within these geographical area.
In the post-Roman periods the Abrahamic history may span on the European Dark Ages, Rise of Islam around the mediterranean (i.e. rise, golden age, and decline of Islamic empires in Hispania, Africa, Middle East, and Near east etc), Middle ages and then in to the contemporary modern age [N1].
- What are the most common fields of study?
The most common fields of study are Islamic & Biblical archaeology dealing with the region; Assyriology dealing with Mesopotamia; Egyptology dealing with the ancient history of what is today Egypt and parts of the Sudan; and prehistoric archaeology which is not tied to a region but instead deals with the origins of culture before the invention of writing.
- What are the focused geographical regions?
In the context of Abrahamic History & Archaeology, first and foremost, the scope of the project focuses on the Fertile Crescent and Arabian Peninsula. In its broader scope the project's scope includes all most all the geographical regions of Near East and depending on the relevance of the other geographical areas, they are included on the basis of even broader definition of the subject, if and when applicable.
- What are the focused civilizations and reference periods?
Here's a tentative list of the focused civilizations and the reference periods, this is still an expanding list, which is being updated as new information comes in hand;
Prehistory (where applicable)
Calcolithic (where applicable)
- Pre-pottery Neolithic A
- Pre-pottery Neolithic B
- Pre-pottery Neolithic C
- Pottery Neolithic
- Sumer and Akkad
- Canaan: Ugarit, Kadesh, Megiddo
[N1] The definitions of the Abrahamic History and Archaeology are not very mature and defined at the moment.
[N2] In the scope of Abrahamic History and Archaeology, we may study how a theological or religious tradition might have originated and how it might have evolved historically.
[R1] Insoll, Timothy. The Archaeology of Islam. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
[R2] Milwright, Marcus. An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology. New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.
[R3] Adams, Russell, ed. Jordan: An Archaeological Reader. London: Equinox, 2008.
[R4] Ben-Tor, Amnon, ed. The Archaeology of Ancient Israel. Translated by R. Greenberg. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.
[R5] Cline, Eric H. Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.