Opendata, web and dolomites


Becoming Muslim: Conversion to Islam and Islamisation in Eastern Ethiopia

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 BM project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the BM project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "BM" about.

islamic    saints    difficult    continent    wholly    islam    belief    horn    groundbreaking    sites    trade    harar    distance    veneration    examine    community    points    living    static    benefits    ethiopia    gao    cities    apparent    suggested    lifeways    permit    excavation    sahel    transferable    rural    architecture    site    relevance    assessing    region    evaluation    time    proselytisation    explores    administration    context    urban    explanation    saharan    regions    literacy    transform    abandoned    holy    botanical    first    orientation    african    universal    immediately    surrounding    settlements    men    sufis    warfare    jihad    existent    shrines    contemporary    larger    muslim    burial    gained    artifacts    convert    acknowledged    archaeology    archaeological    people    prestige    belonging    engagement    timbuktu    genuine    eastern    islamisation    imported    africa    contexts    pilgrimage    question    equally    western    epigraphy    conference    arabic    shrine    publication    power    certain    faunal    conversion    parts    centre    enhanced    methodology    practices    sub   

Project "BM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: EXETER
postcode: EX4 4QJ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙031˙105 €
 EC max contribution 1˙031˙105 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-09-01   to  2020-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UK (EXETER) coordinator 1˙013˙849.00
2    ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY ET (ADDIS ABABA) participant 13˙905.00


 Project objective

' Why do people convert to Islam? The contemporary relevance of this question is immediately apparent.'Becoming Muslim' will transform our knowledge about Islamisation processes and contexts through archaeological research in Harar, Eastern Ethiopia, and examine this in comparison to other regions in sub-Saharan Africa via publication and a major conference. Assessing genuine belief is difficult, but the impact of trade, Saints, Sufis and Holy men, proselytisation, benefits gained from Arabic literacy and administration systems, enhanced power, prestige, warfare, and belonging to the larger Muslim community have all been suggested. Equally significant is the context of conversion. Why were certain sub-Saharan African cities key points for conversion to Islam, e.g. Gao and Timbuktu in the Western Sahel, and Harar in Ethiopia? Archaeological engagement with Islamisation processes and contexts of conversion in Africa is variable, and in parts of the continent research is static. This exciting 4-year project explores, for the first time, Islamic conversion and Islamisation through focusing on Harar, the most important living Islamic centre in the Horn of Africa, and its surrounding region. Islamic archaeology has been neglected in Ethiopia, and is wholly non-existent in Harar. Excavation at 5 key sites: 2 shrines, 2 abandoned settlements, 1 urban site, will permit evaluation of urban Islam, the veneration of saints, pilgrimage and shrine based practices, rural Islam, architecture and jihad, changes in lifeways, and early and comparative evidence for Islam and long-distance trade, through analysis of, e.g. architecture, epigraphy, burial orientation, imported artifacts, and faunal and botanical remains. Although it is fully acknowledged that conversion to Islam and Islamisation processes are not universal, my project is groundbreaking in developing and applying a transferable methodology for the archaeological explanation of 'Becoming Muslim' in sub-Saharan Africa.'


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Timothy Insoll
First Footsteps in the Archaeology of Harar, Ethiopia
published pages: 189-215, ISSN: 2051-9710, DOI: 10.1558/jia.35273
Journal of Islamic Archaeology 4/2 2019-06-13
2017 Insoll, T., Khalaf, N., MacLean, R., and Zerihun, D.
Archaeological Survey and Excavations, Harlaa, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia January-February 2017. A Preliminary Fieldwork Report.
published pages: 32-38, ISSN: 0713-5815, DOI:
Nyame Akuma 27 2019-06-13

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The information about "BM" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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