Comparative urbanism in the Islamic Far West

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4 Scopus citations


During the past ten years, archeological research into the nature of medieval Islamic cities has been conducted in northern Morocco. The majority of this research has centered at the small port‐fortress of Qsar es‐Seghir on the Strait of Gibraltar. In the 13th century the town was enclosed within a circular fortification wall with twenty‐nine evenly spaced defensive towers and three double‐bent‐axis entry gates. By means of a systematic sampling program, we have located examples of the major social institutions: the congregational mosque, a public bath and the central market area. Evidence from portions of twenty houses we have excavated reveal a uniformity in certain design principles juxtaposed against a diversity of decorative and layout details. Quantitative analyses are being conducted to characterize the assemblage, refine the chronology, and elucidate the community structure. During the past few years the research focus of the project has been expanded to a regional level through test excavations at five other sites. The most important of these is the 9th to 11th century Idrisid regional capital of al‐Basra. A systematic program of test excavations has brought to light the first exposure of Idrisid‐period architecture and artifacts in Morocco. Noteworthy among our discoveries are two well‐preserved ceramic kilns of the updraft variety. Investigations to characterize this community and to understand the changes it experienced are currently being pursued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-377
Number of pages23
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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