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Book: Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe

Chapter: 5. Accentuating the Ordinary: Pottery and Everyday Life in Islamic Sicily

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.36074


Islamic ceramics are often studied as objects of aesthetic value, with texts and elite material culture privileging views of acculturation and political subjugation. Here we redress the balance, allowing everyday pottery to shine, through an appreciation of its technology, exchange and consumption. This offers insight into the lives of the ordinary inhabitants of Sicily, during the transition from Byzantine to Islamic rule. Such an approach has increased relevance with recent concerns over migration in the Mediterranean. By investigating cultural links, by prioritising human lives over an artefact’s value or otherness, we suggest an ethical approach to cultural contact and change.

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