The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Islam in Iberia or Iberian Islam: sociobioarchaeology and the analysis of Emerging Islamic Identity in Early Medieval Iberia

Islam in Iberia or Iberian Islam: sociobioarchaeology and the analysis of Emerging Islamic Identity in Early Medieval Iberia
Islam in Iberia or Iberian Islam: sociobioarchaeology and the analysis of Emerging Islamic Identity in Early Medieval Iberia
This research aims to demonstrate how archaeology can contribute to the analysis of religion and religious change. By viewing religion as a social construct, that takes meaning within its own context, the analysis of material culture provides an opportunity to look at long term religious change. This is because while religion strongly influences material culture, it is also reproduced by it. In particular, the body is critical in recreating and negotiating ideology due to physical conformity to religious ideals, which actively constructs identity. As bone adapts to reflect the physical strain placed on it during life, the analysis of changes in activity-related skeletal modifications provides a mechanism for assessing whether religious identity, and therefore ideology, changed and adapted over time. When combined with other evidence from material culture and historic sources, this social-cultural approach explores the development of religion and its role as a structuring principle, but also how it is influenced by other social, political and historic factors.

This was demonstrated through the analysis of physical activity patterns from skeletal material from early Medieval Islamic Iberia (al-Andalus) AD 711- 1200, a region that underwent rapid social change with the emergence of Islam into a previously Christian state. Islam, as a historicx religion, has well established religious traditions. A comparison of ideal behaviour and actual behaviour, as evidenced through activity patterns, was carried out in order to analyse the impact of other social factors on identity in the region. In particular, this thesis focused on whether ideals surrounding gender division and prayer were adhered to in al-Andalus. Entheseal changes, osteoarthritis, non-pathological particular modifications and bone morphology data from Islamic and pre-Islamic individuals from the Islamic cemetery at Écija, Sevilla, and the pre-Islamic basilica at Cortijo de Coracho, Córdoba were compared. A distinct hange in activity patterns occurred with the emergence of Islam. A greater gendered division of labour was identified in the Islamic group, as well as possible evidence for the adoption of ritual prayer and reduced female mobility. The emergence of an Islamic identity was supported by clear trends in burial data and historic sources. Diachronic analysis of Islamic data implied that adherence to Islamic tradition appeared to strengthen over time. Overall, this research appeared to support historical documentation which suggests an orthodox Islamic identity in Iberia. To understand the emergence of an orthodox Islamic Iberian entity, important social and political factors were considered.

Firstly, proximity to Christianity meant the observance of Islamic tradition was important for creating a distinction between ‘us’ (Muslims) and ‘them’ Christians. This became more important later when religious tensions increased in Iberia, where the Christian north organised into a credible threat to the Islamic South, but also in the east, with the initiation of the crusades. Secondly, the arrival and staunch Caliphal support of Maliki law, which has strong emphasis on Qur’anic rituals. Thirdly, Écija, is close to Córdoba, the capital of al-Andalus, and traditions could have spread easily from Córdoba along well stablished trade routes. This research therefore demonstrated that Islamic identity, and therefore Islam in Iberia was a product of the interpretation of tradition in a particular context, thus demonstrating the unique nature of Iberian Islam.
Inskip, Sarah
0c887bd2-8966-431e-a239-d2fb13d8fab6
Inskip, Sarah
0c887bd2-8966-431e-a239-d2fb13d8fab6
Sofaer, Joanna
038f9eb2-5863-46ef-8eaf-fb2513b75ee2
Zakrzewski, Sonia
d80afd94-feff-4fe8-96e9-f3db79bba99d

Inskip, Sarah (2014) Islam in Iberia or Iberian Islam: sociobioarchaeology and the analysis of Emerging Islamic Identity in Early Medieval Iberia. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 517pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This research aims to demonstrate how archaeology can contribute to the analysis of religion and religious change. By viewing religion as a social construct, that takes meaning within its own context, the analysis of material culture provides an opportunity to look at long term religious change. This is because while religion strongly influences material culture, it is also reproduced by it. In particular, the body is critical in recreating and negotiating ideology due to physical conformity to religious ideals, which actively constructs identity. As bone adapts to reflect the physical strain placed on it during life, the analysis of changes in activity-related skeletal modifications provides a mechanism for assessing whether religious identity, and therefore ideology, changed and adapted over time. When combined with other evidence from material culture and historic sources, this social-cultural approach explores the development of religion and its role as a structuring principle, but also how it is influenced by other social, political and historic factors.

This was demonstrated through the analysis of physical activity patterns from skeletal material from early Medieval Islamic Iberia (al-Andalus) AD 711- 1200, a region that underwent rapid social change with the emergence of Islam into a previously Christian state. Islam, as a historicx religion, has well established religious traditions. A comparison of ideal behaviour and actual behaviour, as evidenced through activity patterns, was carried out in order to analyse the impact of other social factors on identity in the region. In particular, this thesis focused on whether ideals surrounding gender division and prayer were adhered to in al-Andalus. Entheseal changes, osteoarthritis, non-pathological particular modifications and bone morphology data from Islamic and pre-Islamic individuals from the Islamic cemetery at Écija, Sevilla, and the pre-Islamic basilica at Cortijo de Coracho, Córdoba were compared. A distinct hange in activity patterns occurred with the emergence of Islam. A greater gendered division of labour was identified in the Islamic group, as well as possible evidence for the adoption of ritual prayer and reduced female mobility. The emergence of an Islamic identity was supported by clear trends in burial data and historic sources. Diachronic analysis of Islamic data implied that adherence to Islamic tradition appeared to strengthen over time. Overall, this research appeared to support historical documentation which suggests an orthodox Islamic identity in Iberia. To understand the emergence of an orthodox Islamic Iberian entity, important social and political factors were considered.

Firstly, proximity to Christianity meant the observance of Islamic tradition was important for creating a distinction between ‘us’ (Muslims) and ‘them’ Christians. This became more important later when religious tensions increased in Iberia, where the Christian north organised into a credible threat to the Islamic South, but also in the east, with the initiation of the crusades. Secondly, the arrival and staunch Caliphal support of Maliki law, which has strong emphasis on Qur’anic rituals. Thirdly, Écija, is close to Córdoba, the capital of al-Andalus, and traditions could have spread easily from Córdoba along well stablished trade routes. This research therefore demonstrated that Islamic identity, and therefore Islam in Iberia was a product of the interpretation of tradition in a particular context, thus demonstrating the unique nature of Iberian Islam.

PDF
SInskip complete PhD[1].pdf - Other
Download (19MB)

More information

Published date: June 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366833
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366833
PURE UUID: e01cec90-d71c-44c3-8ab8-4d561ef8667c
ORCID for Sonia Zakrzewski: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1796-065X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Oct 2014 13:09
Last modified: 25 Jul 2019 00:35

Export record

Contributors

Author: Sarah Inskip
Thesis advisor: Joanna Sofaer
Thesis advisor: Sonia Zakrzewski ORCID iD

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×