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Introduction: Material Evidence and Narrative Sources. Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of the Muslim Middle East

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Chapter Summary

This chapter adheres to a methodological trend of interdisciplinarity that began in the 1970s, with studies that combined archaeology with social or intellectual history. The excavations carried out at the Umayyad Mosque of Tiberias provide clear evidence as to the crucial importance of cultural and historical context in order to arrive at a true understanding of the import of a given archaeological find. When first excavated in 1950s, the site of the congregational mosque was viewed in conjunction with the classical and Jewish character of Tiberias in late antiquity. A closer reading of the rich finds excavated from Islamic-period Tiberias since the 1930s, however, along with the fine and detailed testimonies left by the Jerusalemite geographer, Al- Muqaddasī and by the traveler Nāṣir-ī Khusraw, make the case that these in fact represent the remains of the Umayyad Mosque of Tiberias, which was then the capital of Jund al-Urdunn.

Keywords: Al- Muqaddasi; Islamic-period Tiberias; Jund al-Urdunn; Umayyad Mosque



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