Islamic Archaeology

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The Islamic archaeology is concerned with the investigation of the material culture and historical record of Muslim peoples and societies. As an area of academic inquiry and as a practical part of heritage management, Islamic archaeology is growing as the role of Islam in the world increases both as a political force and in terms of its financial resources.



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Because the Islamic Archaeology as a field of study is relatively young, there are a number of conceptual difficulties with the term “Islamic archaeology” which will be discussed further, but for the present it is used in broad inclusive fashion to encompass any archaeology where Islam is a significant factor in the history or heritage of the region or theme under consideration.

The emergence of the Islamic Civilization, which is no clearer than the emergence of the Sumerians or the Old Kingdom of Egypt, demands the attention of archaeological research. And the Islamic Archaeology presents a prime opportunity to address historical questions from complementary textual and archaeological evidence.



Born from the fields of Islamic art and architectural history, the archaeological study of the Islamic societies is a relatively young discipline. With its roots in the colonial periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its rapid development since the 1980s warrants a reevaluation of where the field stands today.

Marcus Milwright defines the field of Islamic archaeology as 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 [UR2].

Geographical Regions


It will be clear that just as the Islamic world covers a large area and a significant proportion of the world’s land surface, so the archaeology of Islam will incorporate considerable diversity in terms of geo-locations, ethnicities, beliefs, environments, languages, histories, politics, and economics. At present it is not very clear outside of the very obvious geographical areas, how the extant and application of the subject Islamic Archaeology shuld be defined, which will be one of the major focuses of this article.

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