Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

West Africa: Islamic Archaeology

  • Sam Nixon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1823


Unquestionably, West Africa is presently on the periphery of the discipline of Islamic archaeology, even more so than other “peripheral” areas such as the East African coast. This position within the discipline relates principally to Islamic archaeology’s origins in the study of Middle Eastern material culture and its emphasis on art and architectural models that are simply not present in West Africa. West Africa, though, has been home to Islam for over 1,000 years and like elsewhere in the Islamic world has seen the development of wide-ranging cultural networks, powerful Muslim dynasties, and varied architectural and material-culture traditions. It represents perhaps one of the greatest untapped zones of Islamic archaeology, with major settlements never touched and material traditions of whole dynasties poorly understood. For an increasingly global Islamic archaeology, West Africa’s “difference” actually becomes a strength (Whitcomb 2004) as we seek to diversify ideas of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Nixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania & the AmericasUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK