Congratulations to one of our 2022 grantees!

We are thrilled to fund Konstantinos Politis in his research. So what is the project?

About the project:

The Barakat Trust is delighted to award a grant to Konstantinos Politics for his research into the Islamic heritage of Greece; specifically the Greek city of Chalkida. The purpose of this project is to examine a series of Ottoman Turkish documents that contain information on the Islamic monuments during Ottoman-period Chalkida.

The first group of about 250 documents pertain to waqf pious endowments. They contain lists and records of the properties and assets owned and dedicated for the upkeep of these endowments. These documents will allow the research project to understand the role of these Islamic institutions in the everyday life of Ottoman Chalkida and their relationship with the city’s population, especially with the marketplace guilds and peasants who were appointed to cultivate the fields owned by the waqf endowments. The second group of about 960 documents will bring light to the fortress and shipyard of Chalkida as well as the other defensive installations in the hinterland of the city. This set of documents will allow the project to determine the role of the fortress and the shipyard in the economic and social life of the city.

An initial three-week field survey in Chalkida will also be conducted to identify Islamic sites. This team includes two young trainees in order to transfer knowledge to the next generation, and these trainees will be assigned to this survey dedicated to the study and protection of Islamic monuments. On the basis of this research, a new GIS map will be made which will include the location of these Islamic monuments in the city and countryside of Chalkida. Other structures to be investigated will include towers, fortifications, farmsteads, water systems, khans, marketplaces, roads and communication networks, field systems and wind and water mills.

A public outreach campaign will consist of lectures at local schools, cultural societies and municipal buildings in the region in order to raise awareness of Islam during the Ottoman period in Greece as a whole and particularly in the region of Chalkida. Several open field days will be made to teach school children how to identify Islamic monuments and their culture/historical significance in relation to the heritage of their local communities. Towards the end of the project, an exhibition of the finds will be mounted in the local museum.

This is the first intensive regional survey in Greece to focus exclusively on the medieval and post-medieval periods. Recommendations will be made for structural consolidation, building preservation, and protection of the Ottoman-period Islamic monuments. These will be submitted officially to the Ministry of Culture of Greece so that this project might open the way for improved preservation of Ottoman monuments throughout all of Greece.

About the grantee:

Konstantinos D. Politis is an archaeologist educated in Greece, the United States, Belgium and Britain. His early fieldwork was in Greece and Liechtenstein. From 1988 until 2011 he was based at the British Museum which was the principal sponsor of his excavations in Jordan and Oman. He specialises in the early Byzantine and early Islamic periods.

Dr Politis’ most important work was the discovery and subsequent excavation of the Sanctuary of Lot on the south-eastern shore of the Dead Sea, followed by the publication of a major report on that project with the British Museum (2012). He has also published Holy Footprints across the Jordan: A Journey to the Ancient and Religious Sites on the Eastern Side of the Jordan Rift Valley (2010), The World of the Nabataeans (2007) and many scholarly articles.

Dr Politis is chairperson of the Hellenic Society for Near Eastern Studies and an active member of the Palestine Exploration Fund. He leads excavations of Zoara, modern Safi in Jordan, and at Ra’s al-Hadd in Oman.

Over the past 25 years, Dr Politis has presented many scholarly and popular lectures in Europe, the Near East, Australia and North America. He regularly leads academic tour groups to Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Oman and Greece.

Congratulations Konstantinos!