The transformation of the eastern provinces of the Roman empire from the middle of the seventh century CE under the impact of Islam has attracted a good deal of scholarly attention in recent years, and as more archaeological material becomes available, has been subject to revision and rethinking in ways that radically affect what we know or understand about the area, about state-building and the economy and society of the early Islamic world, and about issues such as urbanisation, town-country relations, the ways in which a different religious culture impacted on the built environment, and about politics. This volume represents the fruits of a workshop held at Princeton University in May 2007 to discuss the ways in which recent work has affected our understanding of the nature of economic and exchange activity in particular, and the broader implications of these advances for the history of the region.
'The volume has succeeded admirably in joining together a selection of some of the most active scholars in this discipline, a feature which makes this single volume a useful treasury of critical scholarship for all students of the Early Islamic period … the fact that it contains such a wealth of critical observation and an introduction to current debate makes it an essential accompaniment to broader histories of Early Islamic Syria. For this reviewer, it will be a constant source of reference.' Rosetta