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Early Mosques in the Negev Highlands: New Archaeological Evidence on Islamic Penetration of Southern Palestine

Gideon Avni
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
No. 294 (May, 1994), pp. 83-100
DOI: 10.2307/1357155
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1357155
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Early Mosques in the Negev Highlands: New Archaeological Evidence on Islamic Penetration of Southern Palestine
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Abstract

A number of early mosques associated with a widespread system of settlements that existed during the sixth to eighth centuries C. E. have been discovered in recent years throughout the Negev Highlands. Thus far, 12 mosques of different types have been recorded. These include mosques built either within urban settlements or adjacent to rural settlements, and mosques connected with nomadic populations in the southern Negev Highlands. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that the source of the open mosques constructed near rural and nomadic sites in the Negev Highlands is to be sought in the stele cult that was widely disseminated in Nabataean and Byzantine times. The chronological framework of the early mosques, their connection to dated settlements, and the formal relations between the stele cult and the mosques seem more consistent with a picture of gradual Islamic penetration into southern Palestine than with a swift adoption of canonical Islam in the wake of a single wave of conquest.

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