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Reference : UMR8167-GUICHA-001
Workplace : IVRY SUR SEINE
Date of publication : Thursday, November 12, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Charloux (CNRS, UMR-8167 Orient & Méditerranée)
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 4 January 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly
Description of the thesis topic
Population dynamics in Khaybar (Saudi Arabia) and in the Arabian Peninsula during the transition between Late Antiquity and the Islamic period
Archeology; pre-Islamic to Islamic transition; trade and pilgrimage routes; architecture; ceramology.
The thesis project will focus on the dynamics of settlement in the Khaybar oasis and more broadly in the Arabian Peninsula, for the period of "transition" between Late Antiquity and the beginnings of Islam. It will thus respond to the glaring lack of a synthesis for this period, especially in the context of intense archaeological discoveries in Arabia.
In the continuation of the first archaeological research in Saudi Arabia carried out from the 1960s and the systematic survey (Saudi Comprehensive Survey) in the 1970s, international expeditions have increased over the past fifteen years and now cover the whole of the region (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman). The thesis will be based in large part on the bibliographical study of the work carried out so far and will consider in particular the recent excavations and surveys carried out by international teams in Saudi Arabia, where research has boomed over the last decade, through the opening of new sites, particularly in the Khaybar oasis (project Khaybar from Prehistory to Modern Times Archaeological reconstruction of an oasis over the longue durée).
This PhD project is part of a continuation of a historiographical renewal that has put forward the idea of a decline in the population of Arabia on the eve of Islam. The work of C. Robin and J. Schiettecatte explored this phenomenon for southern Arabia, trying to reconcile archaeological data and the decadent vision that the Arab-Muslim tradition gives of the pre-Islamic period, namely the Jâhiliyya, the period of "ignorance". The PhD project aims to further explore the hypotheses and arguments put forward by this work and to update the results for Saudi Arabia by taking advantage of the renewal of data offered by the development of archeology. The diachronic and macro-regional analysis will make it possible to identify the centers of population, to understand their evolution in terms of growth or decline, as well as their spatial distribution in the light of political, economic and social history. This framework offers the possibility of fully considering this so-called “transition” period.
The region of Hijaz (north-western Arabia) - in which the oasis of Khaybar is located - has impressive potential for understanding the economic dynamics that have positioned the region in a "world economy" - ensuring an economic boom as well as a major cultural influence during this period of transition - remains poorly understood. The region of Hijaz, by virtue of its historical importance, nevertheless makes it possible to consider the place of the caravan routes and the pilgrimage routes of the Arabian Peninsula in the dynamics of trade and the diffusion of Islam. Another axis that seems to have been neglected by research is that of the agricultural development of the region during this period of transition, marked by significant investments in the development of hydraulic structures around the oases. Historiography has also tended to rapidly marginalize Hijaz. Thus, a better knowledge of the settlement dynamics for these first centuries of the Hegira will allow the role of this region and of the oasis of Khaybar within it to be brought back to the fore.
The Khaybar Oasis, located in western Saudi Arabia, is a hotbed of local history. It has been preserved for millennia, and its human occupation seems to have been virtually uninterrupted from earliest prehistoric times to the present day. The new Khaybar archaeological survey and excavation project began in October 2020, and will last until the end of 2024. The project is co-directed by G. Charloux (CNRS, UMR-8167 Orient & Méditerranée), R. Crassard (CNRS, UMR-5133 Archéorient) and M. al-Mushawah (KSU); it is funded by the French Agency for the Development of Al-Ula (Afalula, France), in partnership with the Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU, Saudi Arabia). The main objective of the project is to provide new archaeological documentation to understand human occupation and the environmental dynamics of the Khaybar oasis over time. The PhD subject is part of the "history" part of the research project, coordinated by G. Charloux.
The successful candidate will be recruited under a doctoral contract and hosted in Ivry-sur-Seine, within the Orient & Méditerranée laboratory (CNRS / Paris). It will also involve travel to Lyon (in collaboration with the Archéorient laboratory, CNRS / Lyon 2) and to the Jalès d'Archéorient branch in the south of Ardèche region. The doctoral student will be called upon to participate in all field expeditions (minimum three months per year) where she/he will contribute to the organization and conduct of scientific operations.
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