Dr Jose Carvajal Lopez

Honorary Research Fellow

School/Department: Archaeology and Ancient History, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7114



I did my undergraduate and PhD in the University of Granada (Spain) where I developed archaeological research in the early Islamic period of the area of Granada (8th to 11th centuries CE) and specialized in the knowledge of the ceramics from this period. Between 2009 and 2012 I was part of the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sheffield (UK) where I enjoyed a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship and learnt how to apply archaeological science to the study of ceramics. In 2013 I became a Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology in UCL Qatar where I expanded my interests in research and teaching to the societies of the Persian-Arabian Gulf and particularly of Qatar but also developed projects in other Islamic countries. I was Lecturer in Historical archaeology in SAAH from 2018 to 2023. Since September 2023 I am a Investigador Científico (equivalent to Associate Professor) in the Institute of Heritage Sciences (INCIPIT), CSIC, in Spain.


My main research interests are the archaeological study of Islamic societies particularly of Islamization and the application of ceramics analysis to historical archaeology. During my career I have gained some years of experience in medieval and postmedieval archaeology in Spain Albania Palestine Morocco Kurdistan Turkey and Greece.

Some recent projects include:

Production and Networks in the Early Islamic Persian Gulf. A study of ceramics 800-1000 CE funded by the Albert Reckitt Fund (British Academy) 2019 and on.

The Reception of al-Andalus in Modern Spain a Leverhume Trust-funded project based on the visit of Dr Alejandro García Sanjuán (University of Huelva Spain). 2019 and on.

The Crowded Desert Project: The Archaeology of the Bedouin and Sedentary People in Qatar (UCL Qatar and QNRF-funded 2015-2019). In this project I have studied the development of the nomadic society of the NW of Qatar in relation to urban sites of the early and the late Islamic periods. 


1. Živković J., V. Bikić, J.C. Carvajal López and M. Georgakopoulou 2021: Ceramic production in the Danube Frontier: Belgrade in the 14th and 15th centuries. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 36.

2. Živković J., V. Bikić, M. Georgakopoulou and J.C. Carvajal López 2021: Archaeology of craft and artisans in the Ottoman Empire: a case of ceramic production in Belgrade during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13 63.

3. Carvajal López J.C. 2020: Landscapes of water and landscapes of power: hydraulic politics in Butrint (Albania) between Venetians and Ottomans. Levant 51.2: 184-200.

4. Carvajal López, J.C., Roberts, K., Morabito, L., Rees, G. Stremke, F., Marsh, A., Freire-Lista, D., Carter, R., and Al-Na‘imi, F.A. 2020: The dawn of the Islamic era? The excavation of Yughbi in the Crowded Desert of Qatar. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 50: 53-69.

5. Carvajal López, J.C. 2020: The Material Culture. In M.I. Fierro Bello (ed.): The Routledge Handbook of Al-Andalus. London: Routledge pp. 486-512

6. Carvajal López, J.C., J. Živković, A.K. Al-Jawabra, R. Lababidi 2020: Islamic heritage in three peninsulas in B. Walker T. Insoll and C. Fenwyck (eds): Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 731-754

7. Carvajal López J.C 2019: After the Conquest. Ceramics and migration. Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 11 (3): 323-341 (Awarded Prize for Best Article of 2019 of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies)

8. Carvajal López J.C, M. Giobbe, E. Adeyemo, M. Georgakopoulou, R. Carter, F. Sakal, A. Bianchi and F. Al-Na’īmī 2019: Production and provenance of Gulf wares unearthed in the Old Doha Rescue Excavations Project. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 49: 51-67

9. Carvajal López J.C., K. Roberts, L. Morabito, G. Rees, F. Stremke, A. Marsh, R. Carter, F.A. al-Na‘īmī 2018: From tentscape to landscape. A multi-scale analysis of patterns of long-term occupation in North-West Qatar. Proceedings of the Seminar of Arabian Studies 48: 31-45.

10. Carvajal López J.C., A Hein, V. Kilikoglou, M. Glascock 2018: Combined petrographic and chemical analysis of water containers and glazed wares in the early Islamic Vega of Granada (south east Spain 6th to 12th centuries CE). Journal of Archaeological Science. Reports 21: 1130-1140. 

Press and media

I am an expert in Islamic archaeology (particularly of Spain and Arabia) and on ceramic analysis.


Member of the Committee of the Seminar of Arabian Studies

Member of the Editorial Board and Book Review editor of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology

Member of the Scientific Board of the journal Imago Temporis Medium Aevum


Awarded Prize for Best Article of 2019 of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies for the article: Carvajal López J.C 2019: After the Conquest. Ceramics and migration. Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 11 (3): 323-341.

I have been invited to deliver the following lectures (last two years selected):

The Islamization of al-Andalus from the perspective of ceramics and immigration. Institute of Advanced Studies University of Amsterdam 27th November 2019

The changing ceramic-technological landscape in al-Andalus 7th to 11th centuries CE. International workshop: The impact of Islam in changing cities and landscapes between 7th and 11th c. CE (Africa Sicily Al-Andalus) conference organised by Escuela de Estudios Árabes (CSIC) in Granada. 20th November 2020

Assembling al-Andalus: pots migrants and Islamisation in 8th-11th century SE Iberia. Seminars of Archaeology University of York 12th March 2021.

Hydraulic politics in Butrint (Albania) between Venetians and Ottomans. Anthropology Seminars at the University of Pristina (Kosovo) 6th May 2021.


Presentations in conferences (last two years selected):

with Kirk Roberts Laura Morabito Gareth Rees Frank Stremke Anke Marsh David Freire-Lista Robert Carter and Faisal Al-Na’īmī: The Dawn of the Islamic Era? The excavation of Yughbī in the Crowded Desert of Qatar 53rd Seminar of Arabian Studies University of Leiden 11th-13th July 2019

Long term patterns of nomadic and sedentary settlement in The Crowded Desert of NW Qatar 13th Ruralia Conference University of Stirling 9th-15th September 2019

with Alexandrine Guérin Myrto Georgakopoulou Faysal Al-Na‘īmī: Petrographic analysis of ceramics from Murwab an early Islamic site from Qatar 54th Seminar of Arabian Studies 2021 Casa Árabe (Córdoba)-online 2nd-4th 9th-11th July 2021

Towards a theory of Islamisation: difference and repetition of the Islamic in Session 86: Islamic Archaeology in Europe and Beyond: Widening Horizons Blurring Boundaries. 27th European Archaeologist’s Association Meeting University of Kiel - online 8th-11th September 2021

Media coverage

In 5th March 2019 the Qatar Museums released the news about the results of The Crowded Desert Project in 2018 which had located the earliest Islamic-era site of the country. The news was covered in English, Arabic and Turkish.

I have published opinion pieces about the Islamic heritage of Spain: Debate arqueológico y polémica titularidad de la Mezquita: que no nos la cuelen. Infolibre 24th April 2021

La convivencia en al-Andalus. Malentendidos históricos y usos políticos. The Conversation (11th April 2021) 

My work has also been noted in British media: Archaeology U-Turn. How ancient Spaniards ‘enjoyed better lives than their contemporaries’ Daily Express 9 June 2020

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