Islam

Evidence of pre-Islamic society found in Ghana

Archaeologists working on a site near the village of Yikpabongo in the western African country of Ghana have discovered dozens of clay figures depicting people and animals dating from the 7th to 13th centuries. They believe the artifacts are evidence of a pre-Islamic society.

Medieval Jewish books focus of Bodleian Library exhibit

From December 8, 2009 to May 3, 2010, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University will host Crossing Borders: Hebrew Manuscripts as a Meeting-place of Cultures, "which tells the story of how Jews, Christians and Muslims have together contributed to the development of the book as an object of great cultural importance."

Tsunami unearths early Islamic evidence in Indonesia

Experts have long held that the Islamic religion did not reach into southeast Asia until the 13th century, but new evidence found near Ache, Indonesia, may dispute that claim.

BBC looks "Behind the Book of Omens"

On its website, BBC America has posted a series of videos on the Freer and Sackler Galleries exhibit Falnama: Behind the Book of Omens, the exhibit, which runs through January 24, 2010. The exhibit focuses on "a group of rare and unusual manuscripts that were once used to explore the unknown through divination in 16th- and 17th-century Iran and Turkey."

Minnesota professor to receive grant for medieval globalization research

University of Minnesota professor Susan Noakes has received a US$70,000 grant for two years for a project entitled “Globalization of the Middle Ages.” The research will be funded by the university's Imagine Fund.

7th century Islamic manuscripts from the J.J. Marcel collection online

In 1864, the Imperal Library of Russia acquired the "collection of ancient Kufic Qur'ans on parchment bought from Mme Desnoyer, heiress of Arabist Marcel who was among the members of the learned French expedition to Egypt equipped by Bonapart," a magnificent set of about 2000 parchment leaves in Arabic, illuminated in full color and gold.

Genetic studies show crusaders influenced religion in Lebanon

A new study shows that some Lebanese men carry genes traceable to Western Europe, a heritage, say researchers, from Crusaders who established settlements and castles in the country in the 11th through 13th centuries.

Pergamon Museum to house Islamic treasures

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has signed a long-term agreement to become the home of the Keir Collection of over 1,500 pieces of priceless Islamic art. The pieces were collected over the past fifty years by Hungarian-born property developer, Edmund de Unger. Upon his death, the collection will become the property of the museum.

Mysterious message of the Alhambra decoded

Researchers and lovers of the Alhambra, the 14th century palace in Castile, Spain, have long puzzled and marveled at the Arabic inscriptions which cover the walls and arches of the building, wondering "What are these walls telling me?" Now Juan Castilla, from the School of Arabic Studies at Spain's Higher Scientific Research Council, has produced a video which claims to translate 3,116 of more than 10,000 inscriptions carved around the building.

Today in the Middle Ages: April 15, 1489

Ottoman architect Koca Mi’mar Sinan Aga , usually referred to as Sinan, was born on April 15, 1489. His innovative approach was to transform the Ottoman civic and religious architecture of the Ottoman classical period.

DNA proves morisco mark on Spain

500 years after the Inquisition expelled many Moors from Spain, DNA proves that their "genetic legacy" is still strong, according to Professor Mark Jobling, of the University of Leicester.

Islamic grafitti may help solve Qur'an mystery

A 7th century inscription in stone by an Arabic traveler may help solve a mystery about the Qur'an pondered by scholars for centuries: Why was the text seemingly written without diacritical marks?

Byzantine floor may have graced church in Jerusalem

The discovery of a simple mosaic floor beneath Temple Mount's Aksa Mosque has led archaeologists to speculate that the Mosque may have superceded a Byzantine church, but other experts disagree.

"Millennium" sheds light on the Dark Ages

Millennium, a new book by Tom Holland, takes a look at the Dark Ages with special focus on politics, religion and the combination of the two: the Crusades. Christina Hardyment of The Independent has a review.

Dead Sea Scrolls come to the ROM in 2009

The Royal Ontario Museum has announced that it will bring sixteen of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Toronto for an exhibit which will run June 27, 2009, until Jan. 3, 2010.

Eighth-century minaret discovered in Iran

A team of Iranian archaeologists has discovered an eighth-century minaret in the country's northeastern city of Damqan. The architectural remains are the oldest yet discovered from the Tarikkhaneh Mosque.

The mystery of the missing skeletons

Dozens of skeletons, thought to be Muslim and dating from the 8th or 9th centuries C.E, have been removed from the site of excavations near the Temple Mount according to the Israel Antiquities Authority who have deemed the incident "a serious mishap."

Crusaders left genetic mark on the Middle East

Scientists from the Genographic Project, which is tracking human migrations through DNA, have found traces of a particular DNA signature in Lebanon which they link to European crusaders.

Da Vinci Code meets the Koran

The Internet is alive recently with reports that a secret cache of Islamic texts disputing the origins of the Koran has resurfaced after 60 years of suppression.

Islamic calligraphy at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Texas) will host Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900 and Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur´an through February 3, 2008.

Medieval Islamic cookbook available

A new cookbook, Medieval Cuisine Of The Islamic World: A Concise History With 174 Recipes by: Zaouali, Lilia; Translated by M.B. DeBevoise, has been published by the University Of California Press.

"History of Holidays" on the History Channel website

The History Channel has created a website with interactive links covering the history of all the major holidays on the calendar.

Quran from 1203 Sells at Christie's

A Quran, believed to be the oldest complete copy, circa 1203 C.E., was offered for sale through the Hispanic Society of America and sold to traders in London.

Sotheby's to host auction of Islamic art

On October 24, 2007, Sotheby's Auction House will hold an auction of Islamic art, carpets, textiles and more, many items dating to the Middle Ages. (photos)

13th century Persian poet still inspires

The poetic and the spiritual alike are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the birth of Sufi poet Rumi who "still inspires with his works evoking ecstasy and the divine." Poet Robert Bly reads from his translation of Rumi's works for NPR's Morning Edition.

Early medieval mosque found in Sicily

Amid the Renaissance, Greek and Norman ruins on the island of Sicily, archaeologists have made a surprising find: the remains of an early medieval mosque dating to the 9th or 10th century.

UK£1m El Cid sword may be a forgery

A controversy has arisen over the authenticity of La Tizona, purported to be the sword of legendary Spanish hero El Cid. The sword was purchased recently for UK£1m by authorities in the Castilla Leon region, but others in the Culture Ministry claim that the sword is a fraud.

Russian participants to re-enact battle for Constantinople

Re-enactors in Russia are preparing an elaborate re-enactment of the 1453 battle for Constantinople, in which it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

"Venice and the Islamic World" at the Met

What inspired Renaissance artists? According to a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was the Islamic world. Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797 showcases works that borrowed from the eastern traditions. Blake Gopnik of the Washington Post has the story.

Sacred books on display in London

Visit Sacred: Discover what we share, an exhibit of sacred texts, is on display at the Pearson Gallery of the British Library. The exhibit runs through September 23, 2007. (Digital books online)