The primary objective of our research is to advance empirical study of Islamic areas through the world of objects. For 30 years, Japanese researchers have developed a multi-disciplinary archeological study, primarily at Egyptian port city sites in the Red Sea coastal region, and focusing on sites at Al-Fusṭāṭ and the Rāya/al-Tur area. Through this work, materials were collected and a cornerstone was laid for Islamic archeology in Japan. We want to use this foundation to establish a new methodology for Islamic Area Studies that associates physical objects with history, cultures, and societies in various contexts, including the origin and manufacturing of objects, and the interactions and changes to lifestyle brought about through objects.
The governing principle of Islamic archeology is reconstructing the cultural underpinnings of daily life in civilizations. The material culture shown in architecture, pottery, glass and metal works holds historical information that doesn't appear in intellectual culture. Further, these remnants exist as physical evidence of cultural exchange within the Islamic world, with surrounding regions, and with the worlds of Asia and Europe through Oriental-Occidental trade routes. At port cities in particular, different cultures came together and people, objects, and information mixed, forming networks as these cities took shape and cultures exerted influence on one another.
Through comparative studies that combine and apply the methodologies of archeology, philology, architecture, chemistry, and anthropology to the study of objects, we examine the relationship between the penetration of the "craft of knowledge" seen in daily lifestyles and the replication, propagation, and spread of knowledge. We also want to examine the emergence of societies and civilizations that mix different religions and cultures, such as Islam with Judaism or Islam with Christianity, as shown in physical and material information, and learn from the past to make suggestions about the nature of cultural cross-fertilization in the modern world based on objects.
The web site below provides an outline (in Japanese) of previous Islamic archeological work.
- SHINDO Yoko
Senior Researcher, The Institute of Islamic Archaeology and Culture
- TAKAHASHI Nobuo
Director, Hanamaki City Museum
- NAKAI Izumi
Professor, Tokyo University of Science
- NISHIMOTO Shin'fichi
Professor, Cyber University
- OZAKI Kikuko
Lecturer, National Defense Academy