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Title: Early Islamic glass in the Western Indian Ocean : a typological and functional analysis of the archaeological assemblages from Kadhima & Mughaira (Kuwait) and Unguja Ukuu (Zanzibar)
Author: Blair, Andrew Craig
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 9743
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the typological attributes and functional role of vessel glass in the Persian Gulf and East Africa during the late 1st millennium AD. The thesis aims to improve understanding of the typological components of the Early Islamic vessel glass tradition; to assess the function of this material in different site contexts; and to exploit glass as a proxy for studying trade and the Indian Ocean ‘world’. The main data for this research consists of two previously unstudied glass assemblages, one from the Zanzibari town of Unguja Ukuu, the other from several related sites in Kuwait. The original contributions made by this thesis can be found in both its methodology and in its results. In addition to introducing a large quantity of new data, this thesis has also designed a new typology for Early Islamic vessel glass. This work has identified a narrow range of types which represent the core components of the Early Islamic glass tradition, as well as challenged the ‘art historical’ perspective on the subject. The analysis of function represents the first such study on this scale, and has demonstrated the different roles played by glass in a variety of functional and socio-economic contexts. It is suggested that vessel glass was employed to fulfil a wide range of domestic needs in the Kuwaiti sites. The Unguja Ukuu assemblage appears to have been dominated by vessel forms suitable for eating, drinking and display, leading to the suggestion that possession and use of glass was an important means through which coastal communities differentiated themselves from those of the interior. The thesis has argued that the sheer size of the Indian Ocean glass trade would have created a shared material landscape. However, differences in the way glass was understood limit the extent of unity within any Indian Ocean ‘world’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available