Medieval Archaeology in Egypt

Hesham Nasr Announcement
United Kingdom
Subject Fields
Archaeology, Historic Preservation, Islamic History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Urban History / Studies

Medieval Archaeology in Egypt
Winter 2023 Seminar Series, 
hosted by the Centre for Islamic Archaeology, IAIS, University of Exeter.
16:00 to 17:00 GMT (Wednesdays) 

The CfIA seminar series are back for the winter term of 2023, this time focusing on "Medieval Archaeology in Egypt". Wednesdays 16:00 to 17:00 GMT. For enquiries contact Hesham Nasr at

The first seminar is this Wednesday,

18th January:

Alaa Habashi

Professor of Architecture and Heritage Conservation, and Chairperson, Architectural Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Menofia University, Egypt

Alaa el-Habashi is an Egyptian professor of architecture and heritage conservation. He received his MS and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His research and practices aim to respect the specificities of local history and traditions. He conducted many conservation projects in the Arab World, and assisted in registering, managing, and evaluating World Heritage sites. He is founding in Bayt Yakan of Historic Cairo a Center for the Revitalization of Historic Cities.

Title: ‘Urban archaeology, selected cases from Historic Cairo’


The presentation assesses historic Cairo's historic layers and morphologies through selected cases, specifically residential contexts. Residential components are always ignored in the determining values of historic cities, whereas it is usually the soul of revitalizing the contemporary context.  Interpreting urban archaeological remains is a tool for the prospective revitalization."


1st February

Wolfgang Müller, 

Deputy director of the Swiss Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Research on Ancient Egypt in Cairo

Study of Classical Archaeology and Egyptology at the University of Vienna.

Since 2004 at the Swiss Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Research on Ancient Egypt in Cairo. Since 2004 field director of the Joint Swiss-Egyptian Mission at Old Aswan.

Title: ‘Medieval Aswan. The Archaeological Evidence’


The Swiss Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Research on Ancient Egypt in Cairo is conducting an urban archaeological project in Aswan together with the Egyptian Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities since 2000. 96 Areas throughout the modern city of Aswan have been investigated, the majority of them in rescue excavations. In most of these sites, remains of the medieval city were encountered. According to historical sources, Aswan was among the most important towns of Egypt during its heyday from the Early Islamic to Early Medieval Period. Recent archaeological work helps to get a better idea of the physical reality of the medieval town and its development. Basic facts like the extent of the town and its geographical setting as well as details concerning its fortifications, harbor installations or domestic buildings will be presented in the paper. A recently published study on the pottery from medieval Aswan by Gregory Williams as well as numismatic evidence provided the necessary data for compiling the small unconnected area into a coherent picture.

15th February

Alison L. Gascoigne

Professor of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, UK

Alison Gascoigne is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton, where she has worked since 2007. She has undertaken extensive fieldwork in Egypt, including at Tell Tinnis (published in 2020 as The Island City of Tinnis with IFAO Press); around Old Cairo as part of the USAid Groundwater Lowering Project; at various sites in the Aswan region; and in the Kharga Oasis in the Western Desert. She has also worked in Afghanistan, at the sites of Jam, Ghur, and the Bala Hissar, Kabul.


‘Sherds and the City: Pottery Production, Society and the Changing Urban Fabric of Fustat’


This paper coordinates archaeological information on the changing urban landscape of Egypt’s first Islamic-era capital, Fustat, with topographical, social and economic insights from the Geniza archive and other sources. A focus on the organisation of the city’s pottery industry provides new insights into the multiple ‘abandonments’ and reoccupations familiar from historical sources, showing how diverse residential areas were turned to industrial use (and back) via adaptable transitional processes.

1st March

Ahmed Al-Shoky

Professor of Islamic Archaeology and vice Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology Ain shams university

- Correspondant scientifique d'Ifao.

-Former general director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.

- Former chairman of the National Library and archive of Egypt. 

Title: ‘The Excavation of Sheikh Al-Arab Hammam in Upper Egypt’


Three seasons of the excavations of the castle of Sheikh Al Arab Hammam, located in the village of al-Arki, about 6 km southwest of Farshout. The importance of this site stems from the presence of this citadel facing Wadi al-Hol, which is the main road leading to Darb el-Arbain, a famous chameleon track on which commercial caravans managed to pass long tracts of Egyptian history. This site is one of the pristine sites that have not previously been excavated, and it represents a unique example of Ottoman-era military fortifications that survived in Upper Egypt (the Saiid).



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