“Traces of Early Islam in Wadi Ramm” by Dr. Glenn J. Corbett and Firas Bqain

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Traces of Early Islam in Wadi Ramm: A Desert Mosque and Waystation from the Time of the Umayyads

Early Islamic (Kufic) inscription dates 109 AH (AD 727/728) in Wadi Shireh (photo G.J. Corbett)
Early Islamic (Kufic) inscription dates 109 AH (AD 727/728) in Wadi Shireh (photo G.J. Corbett)

Dr. Glenn J. Corbett, ACOR Associate Director
Firas Bqain, ACOR Administrator

Wednesday 4 March 2015 at 6:00 pm
Reception to Follow

About the Lecture:

In the winter of 1988, while surveying Wadi Shireh in the Hisma/Wadi Ramm desert of southern Jordan, the ‘Aqaba-Ma‘an Archaeological and Epigraphic Survey, directed by the late Dr. William Jobling of the University of Sydney, discovered a rare early Islamic open-air mosque (masjid) in association with several exceptional early Islamic (Kufic) inscriptions, one of which gives a date of 109 AH (AD 727/728). While a number of scholars have since commented on the site’s interesting inscriptions, there has been little discussion of the mosque within its broader archaeological context or immediate landscape setting. This lecture, in addition to discussing the site’s fascinating inscriptions, will evaluate the mosque, together with several associated buildings discovered in Shireh, in relation to similar early Islamic open-air mosques and marginal desert settlements known from the southern Levant. It will also call attention to the unfortunate destruction that has occurred at this remote desert site in recent years.

About the Lecturers:

Dr. Glenn Corbett joined ACOR as the Associate Director in 2014. He has a long work history in Jordan, including a post-doctoral NEH ACOR fellowship, a pre-doctoral CAORC-ACOR fellowship, and a CAORC multi-country fellowship. He received a Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Chicago with a thesis examining Thamudic inscriptions in Wadi Hafir. He has a long publication record including pieces in Near Eastern Archaeology, the American Journal of Archaeology, and the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. He previously worked as an editor for the Biblical Archaeology Society, and he maintains a website (wadihafirsurvey.info) for his ongoing research in Wadi Hafir.
Firas Bqain joined ACOR as the administrator in November 2014. Previously, he was the Events Administrator at the British Institute in Amman and he also served as assistant to the Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Jordan. He has a B.A. in Archaeology and Tourism from Mutah University, and his M.A. thesis in Archaeology from the University of Jordan was about the topic of this lecture.