Institute of Archaeology


The Medieval Volubilis Archaeological Project

Exploring the origins of Islam in North Africa.

This Moroccan-British (INSAP-UCL) field project has been examining Islamic urbanism and daily life at the UNESCO site of Walila, Roman Volubilis, Morocco.

In Morocco, state formation coincides with intense urbanization, the appearance of new architectural forms (mosques, housing, hammams), the spread of Muslim dietary and burial practices, and the arrival of new crops and manufacturing techniques from the mid-8th century – significantly earlier than other regions of the Islamic world. As yet, however, we still lack a holistic understanding of urbanism and daily life, particularly for the pivotal eighth century when many new groups were moving in and around this region. Walila, Roman Volubilis, is an ideal site to explore these issues. 

Related outputs

  • Fentress, E. Fenwick, C. and H. Limane (2021), ‘Early Medieval Volubilis: The Archaeology of a Berber Town’, Hespéris-Tamuda 56: 209-35. (Open access)
  • Fentress E, Fenwick C, and H. Limane (2020), ‘Volubilis II : « Walili des Awrabas aux Mérinides » campagne de fouilles 2018-2019’, Bulletin d'Archéologie Marocaine 25, 421-426. (Open access)
  • Fenwick, C. (2020), Early Islamic North Africa: A New Perspective. London.
  • Anderson, G., Fenwick, C. and Rosser-Owen, M. (eds.) (2017), The Aghlabids and Their Neighbors: Art and Material Culture in Ninth-century North Africa. Leiden.
  • Fenwick, C. (2013), ‘From Africa to Ifrīqiya: Settlement and Society in Early Medieval North Africa (650–800)’, Al-Masāq 25: 9-33.


  • The Barakat Trust
  • University of Oxford, Gerald Averay Wainwright Fund for Near Eastern Archaeology