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3 Ladies of Quseir: Life on the Red Sea Coast in Ayyūbid Times

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Chapter Summary

The archaeological site of Quseir al-Qadim first attracted attention due to its location, the closest point from the Red Sea coast to the Nile valley, the route traversing the Wadi Hammamat, famed for its inscriptions and Roman stations. The periods of greatest prosperity came under Ayyūbid and Baḥrī Mamlūk rule, when artifacts testify to contacts with India, China, Syria, and even Tekrur. The author describes the "ladies of Quseir", he meant to consider the growing field of gender archaeology - namely, focused on the archaeological artifacts recovered from the Sheikh's house, and these tended to be viewed through the lens of the broad course of Islamic history - in particular, the great flourishing of commerce across the Indian Ocean. Li Guo noted that the correspondence between mother and son "sheds some light on the status and condition of women in the 'Sheikh's house'".

Keywords: Ayyūbid; ladies of Quseir; Li Guo; Red Sea Coast; Sheikh Abū Mufarrij



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