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Поволжская археология

Archaeology and Islam in the Middle Volga Region in 10th – first third of 13th centuries: an experience of a complex analysis

I.L. Izmailov (Kazan, Russian Federation)


page 68–92

UDC 94(47)+28 (035.3)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24852/pa2016.2.16.68.92


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The author addresses the origin and spread of Islam in the Middle Volga area. This topic has attracted attention of researchers for more than two centuries now. Presently, there is no doubt that the Volga Bulgaria was a Muslim state, and that Islam got widely spread among the local population. However, the character and intensity of this process is still under discussion. The author primarily uses narrative sources to study this issue, while archaeological evidence (funerary sites, mainly) were used sporadically. He analyzes the entire corpus of archaeological sources to study the situation, which allows him to make a few very important conclusions. Judging by these data, Islam was widely spread among the urban and rural population. There is no documented trace of any pagan funerary rite in the Volga Bulgaria since early 11th century. So, the idea of a massive pagan “Finno-Ugric” population here should be considered a mistake caused through manipulation of some archaeological fi nds, adornments fi rst of all, which, obviously, did not have any ethnic-cultural or confessional meaning, and their spread was due to a particular fashion of the time. Islam was the only religion in the medieval Bulgaria, maybe with the exception of some isolated Christian communities. Thus, the Muslim culture was inseparably associated with the Bulgarian archaeological culture.

Keywords

archaeologyhistoryVolga BulgariaIslamMuslim culturemedieval Muslim cityfunerary ritemosquesbaths

About the author(s)

Izmaylov Iskander L. Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology named

after A. Kh. Khalikov, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan. Butlerov Str., 30,

Kazan, 420012, the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation; ismail@inbox.ru