Archaeological Investigations of the Maldives in the Medieval Islamic Period : Ibn Battuta’s Island book cover
1st Edition

Archaeological Investigations of the Maldives in the Medieval Islamic Period
Ibn Battuta’s Island

ISBN 9781003166221
Published December 30, 2021 by Routledge
182 Pages 28 Color & 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book presents pioneering research on the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives in the medieval period. Primarily archaeological, the book has an interdisciplinary slant, examining the material culture, history, and environment of the islands.

Featuring contributions by leading archaeologists and material culture researchers, the book is the first systematic archaeological monograph devoted to the Maldives. Offering an archaeological account of this island-nation from the beginnings of the Islamic period, it complements and nuances the picture presented by external historical data, which identify the Maldives as a key player in global networks. The book describes excavations and surveys at a medieval site on the island of Kinolhas. It offers a comprehensive analysis of finds of pottery, glass, and cowries, relating them to regional assemblages to add valuable new data to an under-researched field. The artefacts suggest links with India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Arabia, central Asia, southeast Asia, and China, offering tangible evidence of wider connections. The research also evidences diet, crafts, and funerary practices. The rigorous presentation of the primary material is framed by chapters setting the context, conceptual approaches, and historical interpretation, placing the Maldives within broader dynamics of Islamic and Indian Ocean history and opening the research results to a wide readership.

The book is aimed at students and researchers interested in the archaeology and history of the Indian Ocean, Islamic studies, island and coastal communities, maritime networks, and the medieval period, with special relevance for the ‘Global Middle Ages’. It will appeal to art historians, archaeologists, museologists, and heritage and material culture studies researchers with related interests.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: An Archaeological Study of a Maldivian Island

Anne Haour

2 An Overview of Previous Historical and Archaeological Work in the Maldives

Shiura Jaufar and Anne Haour

3 Approaching the Heritage and Archaeology of Kinolhas

Annalisa Christie

4 Kinolhas: The Trenches and Stratigraphy

Anne Haour, Annalisa Christie, Shiura Jaufar, and David Vigoureux

5 The Earthenware Pottery

Anne Haour and Shiura Jaufar

6 The Glazed Pottery: Asian and Islamic Imports

Ran Zhang

7 The Fauna

Annalisa Christie

8 The Small Finds

Laure Dussubieux, Anne Haour, St John Simpson, and Marilee Wood

9 The Archaeology of the Maldives in the Medieval Period: A Comparative Study

Annalisa Christie and Shiura Jaufar

10 Towards an Archaeology of the Medieval Maldives

Anne Haour

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Anne Haour is a Professor in the Arts and Archaeology of Africa and Director of the Centre for African Art and Archaeology (CfAAA) at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

Annalisa Christie is an Assistant Professor in Cultural Heritage at University College Dublin, Ireland.


‘This landmark volume is the first systematic archaeological monograph devoted to the Maldives, an understudied crossroads of Indian Ocean circulations. Combining rigorous excavation description with substantive discussions of context and historical interpretation, it highlights a history of global connections linking the Maldives to Africa, Arabia, India, and beyond. This book should become a new standard reference for anyone interested in the history of Indian Ocean networks, economic history, and Islamic studies.’

Professor R. Michael Feener, Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies/Director, Maritime Asia Heritage Survey