The Domestic Architecture of Jordan-Palestine in the Early Islamic Period: An Archaeological Approach
With the explosion of new material emerging from a branch of archaeology that focuses specifically on Islamic periods and Islamic lands since the 1980s, it is most pertinent to consider its origin, its development, and its potential in reconstructing and interpreting past ways of life. Islam has been a literate culture since its inception; thus, academic inquiry has focused on written texts. While documentary evidence provides a wealth of information on many aspects of life, material derived from archaeology can supplement and contextualize the written record. The material record can serve as an independent arbitrator, separate from historical sources, which were often written with an agenda. While the interpretation of the material evidence may be disputed, the data cannot be denied, as it offers a first-hand record of what had existed. The archaeology of Islam, according to Northedge, should be understood not as the archaeology of a religion, but rather of a diffuse culture comprising many different geographical regions. The introduction of Islam, with its variable characteristics, and its contact with an antecedent culture resulted in changes in identity. Islamic archaeology, or the archaeology in the dÄ r al-Islam, is enormously appealing because it is concerned with the recent past of a region's present culture, and thus, touches on practical problems and susceptibilities that are not at issue in more ancient archaeology. Islam is still a living, vibrant religious and cultural entity in the region. This MA thesis proposes to examine the archaeological material to reconstruct and interpret houses and domestic architecture in the geographical region of Jordan-Palestine during the early Islamic period, primarily the Umayyad period. The term Jordan-Palestine is used to describe the modern states of Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. The early Islamic period represents the transition from late Byzantine culture through the formative period of Islamic culture. Archaeological discoveries at southwest Asian sites during the past century, particularly the last thirty years, have made this a viable topic.
The American University in Cairo -School of Humanities and Social Sciences