Who we are

Ḥajar is a collective of archaeologists working in different parts of Islamic history and geography and on different topics.

José C. Carvajal López did his undergraduate degree and his PhD in the University of Granada (Spain). He then held a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship in the University of Sheffield (UK), became lecturer of Islamic Archaeology in UCL Qatar, and since 2018 is a lecturer of Historical Archaeology at the University of Leicester (UK). His specialist field as an archaeologist is pottery and material culture in general, primarily in Iberia, but he also has experience in landscape and architectural archaeology. He focuses on archaeological study of the Islamic culture, mainly in the process of Islamization and in interactions of Islam with other cultures. He searches for approaches that combine anthropological theory on material culture and analyses with scientific techniques.

Sterenn Le Maguer-Gillon is an archaeologist specialised in the incense trade in the Indian Ocean and in the Arabian Peninsula. She also focuses on the role of fragrances in Medieval Islamic society. Affiliated to the CEFREPA (Kuwait) and CNRS ‘Orient & Méditerranée’ (Paris), she has participated in many archaeological missions in Yemen and the Gulf area. She is teaching ‘Arts, history and culture of the Arab-Persian world’ at the Institut Catholique de Paris.

Hagit Nol holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the Université libre de Bruxelles where she conducts research on the distribution of early mosques. Her PhD thesis, at Universität Hamburg (2019), focused on settlement patterns in central Israel/Palestine during the 7th-11th centuries. Her research interests involve landscape archaeology, early Islam, economic and social history of the early medieval period, and the diffusion of knowledge and ideas.

Irina Shingiray is a historical and anthropological archaeologist, who specializes in medieval Eurasian nomadism, nomadic empires, and their relations with the sedentary world. She received her PhD at Boston University (USA) and held a research appointment in the ERC project “Nomadic Empires” at the Faculty of History, University of Oxford (2015-2019). Currently she continues her interdisciplinary research as an associate member at the Faculty of History, while she is also an affiliate at the Oxford Nizamy Ganjavi Centre for the Study of the History, Languages, and Cultures of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Her particular focus is on the early medieval Khazar Empire and on the Islamization of the nomadic people of the Western Eurasian Steppe. Her main archaeological expertise is landscape and burial archaeology.

Valentina Vezzoli is currently research fellow at the Department of Arabic, Medieval and Modern Studies of the Institut Français du Proche Orient in Beirut. She received her PhD at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Her research focuses on the study of material culture and human landscape in the Middle East during the Islamic period, with a special focus on the distribution and production of ceramic objects. She also explores cultural and economic interactions between the Islamic world and the Mediterranean. More information about Valentina here.