Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg



Sie sind hier: Startseite Fellows Alumni Dr. Julie Monchamp (October 2018-June 2019) Project


"Pottery from Late Mamluk to Ottoman period in Egypt"

The aim of the present project is to analyse the evolution of handicraft material culture in Egypt between the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, through a comparative study of the pottery. This study will be mainly based on ceramics discovered during the excavation of the Ayyubid Wall of Cairo in the Mamluk and Ottoman layers of the site. The main purpose of my PhD research was to bring a significant contribution to medieval pottery studies in Egypt. In this work, I’ve been able to show the chronological development of the shapes of common and glazed wares over more than five centuries, thanks to the stratigraphic analysis of the site. A more specific part deals with certain productions, local or imported, which connects them, when possible, to an historical, sociological or economic context. This research is chronologically limited to the beginning of the 16th century. Pottery from Ottoman layers has not been included in this study due to lack of reliable archaeological contexts but a significant amount of sherds from this period has been discovered. Using the results of my PhD study, I now wish to consider the unpublished materiel from the Ottoman period. Among this material we note a number of local pottery, imported fine wares as well as tobacco pipes. Moreover a pipe workshop has been discovered on the site in 2003.
Research on Ottoman period ceramic in Egypt is very limited. Few archaeological excavation reports or publications mention ceramics from this recent historical period. As we can notice by looking at museum collections, it is remarkable that there is virtually no local production and most of the artefacts from the Ottoman era are Turkish pottery manufactured in Iznik or Kutahya workshops. With this project, we expect to get a better view of the matter and maybe be able to understand what happened to Ottoman pottery manufacturing in Egypt.
A first step of this project will be to establish a state of knowledge on this topic, after collecting all the available bibliographical references, and setting up a list of current excavation sites by contacting archaeologists and ceramists working in Egypt. A crucial aspect of this research will be to gather all the Ottoman pottery discovered at the Ayyubid Wall site since 2000 up to 2017 in order to make a complete inventory including local and imported wares. This primary work will lead us to get a general overview of Ottoman pottery, according to the Ayyubid Wall excavation findings. In a second step, it will be necessary to compare all these wares with the groups characterized in my PhD. It would be interesting to know about nature and quality of clays, technology as well as types of shape still in use in both periods. Attention will be paid on local production as well as imported wares identified in Egypt.
One focus will be on imported wares, by analysing their origins and quantities and their influence on local productions. Based on these material evidence, the purpose of this comparative study is also to highlight the impact of the Ottoman domination on local and imported ceramics in Egypt and therefore to assess the effects of political changes on economy and on daily life.
A further part of the research will be dedicated to gather information about pottery production in the written sources and compare the material culture with the written sources and the historical context. More specifically the aim of this part will be a comparative study on handicrafts and artisans during the Mamluk and Ottoman Eras4. Lastly, this work might help shed light on the daily life and socio-economic context of Cairo in order to better understand the transition period between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire in Egypt.
1 Directed by S. Pradines.
2 This work is about to be published by the Ifao printing house, cf. J. Monchamp, Céramiques des Murailles du Caire (fin Xe- début XVIe s.), Fouilles de l’Ifao, Cairo, 2018, in press.
3 S. Pradines, « Note préliminaire sur un atelier de pipes ottomanes à l'est du Caire », CCE 7, 2004, p. 281-291.
4 For example based on works as A. Raymond, Artisans et commerçants au Caire au XVIIIe siècle, Institut français de Damas, 1973 ; S. Faroqhi, Artisans of Empire : Crafts and Craftpeople Under the Ottomans, I.B. Tauris, 2009.