"The goal of the book, to integrate different types of data and domains of inquiry to illustrate the research possible in rural landscapes is admirably accomplished. The volume is well integrated into a comprehensive whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This book also demonstrates that committed scholars, endeavoring to write clearly to those outside of their immediate specialty, can successfully bring the richness of detail in their work to a broader archaeological audience."—EthnoarchaeologyIslamic societies of the past have often been characterized as urban, with rural and other extra-urban landscapes cast in a lesser or supporting role in the studies of Islamic history and archaeology. Yet throughout history, the countryside was frequently an engine of economic activity, the setting for agricultural and technological innovation, and its inhabitants were frequently agents of social and political change. The Islamic city is increasingly viewed in the context of long and complex processes of urban development. Archaeological evidence calls for an equally nuanced reading of shifting cultural and religious practices in rural areas after the middle of the seventh century.
"This welcome volume seeks to bring the approaches of landscape archaeology to the rich dataset offered by the rural communities of the Islamic Middle East. Through chapters addressing fundamental social and economic matters—mining and manufacturing, water management, the animal economy, the actuality of burial practices—the contributors deploy and confront both archaeological and documentary evidence in ways that will interest a broad readership."—Graham Philip, Durham University
"This rich and carefully assembled volume is diverse in its theoretical and methodological approaches and scope. It opens numerous windows into the field of Islamic archaeology, suffusing it with fresh new possibilities and horizons. Each study grounds the history of Islamic societies in a rich and dynamic landscape. The volume should be indispensable to all scholars and students of Islamic studies."—A. Asa Eger, University of North Carolina—Greensboro
Landscapes of the Islamic World presents new work by twelve authors on the archaeology, history, and ethnography of the Islamic world in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia. The collection looks beyond the city to engage with the predominantly rural and pastoral character of premodern Islamic society. Editors Stephen McPhillips and Paul D. Wordsworth group the essays into four thematic sections: harnessing and living with water; agriculture, pastoralism, and rural subsistence; commerce, production, and the rural economy; and movement and memory in the rural landscape. Each contribution addresses aspects of extra-urban life in challenging new ways, blending archaeological material culture, textual sources, and ethnography to construct holistic studies of landscapes.
Modern agrarian practices and population growth have accelerated the widespread destruction of vast tracts of ancient, medieval, and early modern landscapes, highlighting the urgency of scholarship in this field. This book makes an original and important contribution to a growing subject area, and represents a step toward a more inclusive understanding of the historical landscapes of Islam.
Contributors: Pernille Bangsgaard, Karin Bartl, Jennie N. Bradbury, Robin M. Brown, Alison L. Gascoigne, Ian W. N. Jones, Phillip G. Macumber, Daniel Mahoney, Stephen McPhillips, Astrid Meier, David C. Thomas, Bethany J. Walker, Alan Walmsley, Tony J. Wilkinson, Paul D. Wordsworth, Lisa Yeomans.
Stephen McPhillips teaches in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
Paul D. Wordsworth is a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford.