Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ARA1030: Introduction to Islamic Archaeology

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Aims

This multidisciplinary module is designed to introduce students to the importance of material culture as a way of understanding Muslim societies of the past, and of better understanding Islam in the present. The module aims also to familiarise students with the rich diversity of Islamic culture through archaeological, historical and ethnographic evidence.

Students will develop critical skills in the following areas: the theory of material culture and archaeology with particular reference to Islamic cultures; the treatment of Islam and Islamic societies within the history of art, archaeology and material cultural studies; the use ethnography as a tool of research; and the methodologies and practices of archaeology.

Beyond the use of archaeology to merely understand historical phenomena, students will be introduced to innovative approaches to the study of Islamic societies, in particular, to the combined use of textual documentation, ethnological analogies, and the archaeological record.

Particular aspects of past and present Islamic material culture will be analysed, including religious and domestic environments, cities and settlement types, art and architecture, death and burial, manufacturing and trade. Emphasis will be placed on the past and present maritime trade routes, navigation techniques and boatbuilding traditions in the Red Sea and Arabian/Persian Gulf.

Assignment and exercises are intended to stimulate the critical interpretation of the spoken and written word, and of artefacts from past and present material culture.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. understand the different methodologies for the study of past and present material cultures;
2. analyse aspects of Islam across time and space using the material evidence;
Discipline-Specific Skills3. describe the material culture evidence in an appropriate and comprehensive manner and to research a topic;
4. demonstrate understanding of archaeological methods and approaches, written sources and ethnographic methods;
Personal and Key Skills5. prepare and deliver individual presentations using appropriate visual aids;
6. development your research, analytical and writing skills using different interpretative and methodological approaches;
7. write essays, give class presentations, and take part in discussions;
8. read critically and carefully from a list of texts.