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Katherine Burke

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2007

Fax: 310-206-4723
E-mail: ksburke@ucla.edu

Mailing Address:

Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
308 Charles E Young Dr. North
A210 Fowler Building/Box 951510
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1510

Class Websites

UCLA Appointments

Adjunct Lecturer, Loyola Marymount University

Research Summary

My focus of research is in the middle Islamic and Crusader periods (roughly the twelfth through the early sixteenth century), encompassing the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea and Indian Ocean regions. The first geographical area is reflected in my participation in the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project, of which I am Associate Director and Islamic Archaeologist. I have initiated long-term studies both of the transition from Fatimid rule (controlled by Cairo) to Jaffa’s incorporation into the Crusader state, and of Mediterranean trade in the Crusader states. Data collection on the Fatimid-Crusader transition has only just begun, but preliminary analysis of the Crusader ceramics indicates that the corpus at Jaffa includes a greater diversity of Aegean and Black Sea products imported to the region during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries than has been seen in excavations at Acre. This has potential to illuminate the varying degrees of access to Byzantine ports and control over Levantine ports that the Italian trading cities (e.g., Pisa, Genoa, and Venice) may have held at different times, among other issues.

The second geographical focus of research stems from my dissertation, which I am revising for publication. It is an archaeological study of a merchant’s house and storerooms at Quseir al-Qadim, a small seaport in Upper Egypt, excavated by the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. In the thirteenth century the merchant and his son to whom this complex belonged were shipping grain to the Hijaz, as we know from letters written in Arabic on paper and preserved because of the arid climate. Finds from the site reveal the extent of Indian Ocean trade that brought Chinese porcelains, Indian textiles, and Yemeni pottery to the shores of the Red Sea during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. Integration of the published texts with their archaeological contexts has produced two parallel narratives of daily life in thirteenth-century Egypt.

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