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Durham e-Theses
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Continuity and Change in Early Islamic in Cyrenaica (7th to 10th Centuries)

BUBTANA, ENAS,MOHAMED,ALI (2019) Continuity and Change in Early Islamic in Cyrenaica (7th to 10th Centuries). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



As a Libyan Archaeologist from the University of Benghazi, I have examined anew in this thesis the archaeological record for the 7th to the 10th centuries in Cyrenaica, as it concerns six principal sites: Ajdabiyah, Medina Sultan, Barqa, Taucheira, Tolmeitha, and Ras el-Hilal.

Fresh fieldwork has been largely impossible for me as the originating point for my research because of the military situation in Libya during these past few years. However, the originality of this thesis lies in its reassessment of the existing and published archaeological record, and a re-reading of the archaeology in the light of a new consideration of the medieval sources in their original Arabic texts. I have also retranscribed and reread a good number of original inscriptions.

The re-interpretation of the existing and published archaeological record has brought to light the degree to which the Islamic conquest of Cyrenaica was not, at a local level, the sudden and simple event that the idea of military victory conjures up. Rather it was the beginning of a process that in the centuries following the Arab invasion, evolved in a slow and complex way in the six sites here considered. The argument of this thesis is that at a local level, well away from the political simplicities of important military and historical events, it is continuity rather than disruption which comes to seem important. Human life is defined by its localness.

The archaeological record can be read for these sites, then, in a way which makes them a valuable counterpointing of the historical record of these early Arab centuries. There has been occasion in the thesis to comment more than once on the fact that archaeology should not be too easily considered the handmaid of history, that its view of events and of human life lived is valuably different in scale and angle from the shaping abstractions of historical writing.

Durham, August 2019

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Islamic Archaeology,Libya,Cyrenaica,inscriptions
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Jun 2020 12:30

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