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Updates from the field: The Transformation of the Moroccan Landscape in the Early Islamic Period.

Updates from the field: 22 October 2018, Morocco.

 In this image, Gaetano Palumbo (Project Director) and Dr Sam are discussing a change of context at one of the project site trenches.

Our Director Dr Sam Evans visits the UCL Qatar research project site in Morocco and witnesses the progress of the research entitled “The transformation of the Morocco landscape in the Early Islamic period”. In this image, Gaetano Palumbo (Project Director) and Dr Sam are discussing a change of context at one of the project site trenches. The archaeological and research team found a midden (dump for domestic waste) with a lot of pottery and bones.

Content credits: Julius Ogutu, UCL Qatar graduate, who is also a part of this research project.


Updates from the field: 15 October 2018, Morocco.

The third field season of the QNRF  funded “The transformation of the Morocco landscape in the Early Islamic period” will last until the 4th of November. The project is a joint effort between UCL Qatar and INSAP, the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences in Morocco. Twenty archaeologists from seven different nationalities will take part in the fieldwork which will consist of surveys and archaeological soundings in the northern region of Tangier.

Read below for some updates from project field director, Gaetano Palumbo.

The Transformation of the Moroccan Landscape in the Early Islamic Period

The first three weeks of archaeological investigations in northern Morocco are already bearing important results: two teams are conducting intensive surveys in order to fill important gaps in our knowledge of human occupation in this region,

Wall traces found on a hill top

while a third team is conducting limited soundings in some of the sites identified last year in order to retrieve information on the nature of settlement and to establish chronological sequences for these sites.

 

120 previously unidentified archaeological sites have already been recorded so far. The sites range in date from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Late Medieval period. These have to be added to the 88 sites identified in the previous two campaigns. With these discoveries, we have more than doubled the number of archaeological sites that were known to exist in this area before our research.

The most important results concern the discovery of a large number of Palaeolithic sites in the southern section of our survey area, south of the village of Arba Ayacha. In another area  north-east of Asilah we have discovered important settlements dating from to the 5th century CE onwards.

One sounding was completed at a site on the coast, north of Asilah. This was known to have been occupied from at least the 4th century BCE until the Medieval period, judging from the type

A Medieval house found in the first sounding, showing a layer of roof tiles smashed on the floor.

of pottery found on the surface. Here, however, we did not find what we expected. The sounding revealed the presence of a house that was abandoned before its collapse: very few artefacts were found on the floor where a roof made of terracotta tiles had smashed, and no previous occupation was found under this house, that we tentatively date to the 14th century CE. Hopefully we will get more data in the next sounding!  Stay tuned for further updates.

 

Thank you to Gaetano Palumbo, Project Field Director, for contributing to this feature.