Material Evidence and Narrative Sources

Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of the Muslim Middle East


This book is a collected volume that crosses traditional boundaries between methodologies. Each of its sixteen articles is based on imaginative combinations of data provided by excavations, artifacts, monuments, urban topography, rural layouts, historical narratives and/or archival records. The volume as a whole demonstrates the effectiveness of interdisciplinary research applied to historical, cultural and archaeological problems. Its five sections - Economics and Trade, Governmental Authority, Material Culture, Changing Landscapes, and Monuments – bring forth original studies of the medieval, Ottoman and modern Middle East, amongst others, of voiceless and silenced social groups.

Contributors are: Nitzan Amitai-Preiss, Jere L. Bacharach, Simonetta Calderini, Delia Cortese, Katia Cytryn-Silverman, Miriam Frenkel, Haim Goldfus, Hani Hamza, Stefan Heidemann, Miriam Kühn, Ayala Lester, Nimrod Luz, Yoram Meital, Daphna Sharef-Davidovich, Oren Shmueli, Yasser Tabbaa, Daniella Talmon-Heller, and Bethany Walker.

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Daniella Talmon-Heller, Ph.D. (1999), is senior lecturer at the Department of Middle East Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and author of Islamic Piety in Medieval Syria: Mosques, Cemeteries and Sermons under the Zangids and Ayyubids (1146–1260) (Leiden: Brill 2007).

Katia Cytryn-Silverman, Ph.D. (2006), is lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is author of The Road Inns (Khāns) in Bilād al-Shām (Oxford: BAR International Series 2010) and director of excavations at Tiberias.
“This is a volume that has accumulated researchers’ papers rich both, in providing information concerning contemporary documentation and archaeological findings, questioning the objective validity of reported statements as sources as well as in putting to doubt already established perceptive paths while suggesting new interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to historical inquiry.”
Stavros Nikolaidis in Journal of Oriental and African Studies 24 (2015) 461-466.

"It's praiseworthy interdisciplinary approach and the strong focus on the nexus of material and textual evidence recommend it in whole and part to graduate seminars and specialists in the field."
George Malagaris in Journal of Islamic Studies 28, 3 (2017)
List of abbreviations
List of illustrations

Daniella Talmon-Heller, Katia Cytryn-Silverman, and Yasser Tabbaa, Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of the Muslim Middle East

Jere Bacharach, Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Teaching and Studying Numismatic Evidence
Stefan Heidemann, How to Measure Economic Growth in the Middle East? A Framework of Inquiry for the Middle Islamic Period
Donald Whitcomb, Ladies of Quseir: Life on the Red Sea Coast in Ayyūbid Times

Nitzan Amitai-Preiss, What Happened in 155 A.H. / 771–72 A.D? The Testimony of Lead Seals
Simonetta Calderini and Delia Cortese, The Architectural Patronage of the Fāṭimid Queen-Mother Durzān (d. 385/995): An interdisciplinary analysis of literary sources, material evidence and historical context
Bethany J. Walker, On Archives and Archaeology: Reassessing Mamlūk Rule from Documentary Sources and Jordanian Fieldwork

Miriam Frenkel and Ayala Lester, Evidence of Material Culture from the Geniza – An Attempt to Correlate Textual and Archaeological Findings
Yasser Tabbaa, Originality and Innovation in Syrian Woodwork of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries
Miriam Kühn, Two Mamlūk minbars in Cairo: Approaching Material Culture through Narrative Sources

Nimrod Luz, Icons of Power and Religious Piety: The Politics of Mamlūk Patronage
Oren Shmueli and Haim Goldfus, The Early Islamic City of Ramla in Light of New Archaeological Discoveries, G.I.S. Applications, and a Re-examination of the Literary Sources
Daphna Sharef-Davidovich, The Role of the Imperial Palaces in the Urbanization Process of Istanbul, 1856–1909

Hani Hamza, Turbat Abū Zakariyya Ibn ʿAbd Allāh Mūsa (chief surgeon of al-Bīmāristān al-Manṣūrī) and his social status according to his endowment deed (waqfiyya)
Maximilian Hartmuth, Oral tradition and architectural history: a sixteenth-century Ottoman mosque in the Balkans in local memory, textual sources, and material evidence
Yoram Meital, Deliberately Not Empty: Reading Cairo’s Unknown Soldier Monument

Specialists and students interested in social and economic history, monuments, numismatics, archaeology and art history, especially of the pre-modern Middle East, and those fascinated by interdisciplinary methodologies.
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