Dr Micaela Sinibaldi
Honorary Research Fellow
I am a Medieval archaeologist educated in Italy and the U.K., specialising in the archaeology of the Islamic period in the Levant, and I hold a PhD from Cardiff University with a thesis on the archaeology and history of the Crusader period in the Lordship of Transjordan.
Following the PhD programme, I have had several post-doctoral fellowships and positions to develop my research and I have been serving as acting deputy director at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem (Council for British Research in the Levant). With K. Lewis, J. Thompson and B. Major I have co-edited Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant. The Archaeology and History of the Latin East, University of Wales Press (2016) a Festschrift for Prof. Denys Pringle.
I have conducted fieldwork projects of archaeological excavation, Buildings Archaeology, ceramic studies and mapping of risk assessment in Italy, the Middle East and India. My recent research activity has focused on the Petra region, where I have worked as a team member of several international projects, including the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project. I have assisted UNESCO as a member of the advisory group for the new integrated management plan of Petra World Heritage Site.
Since 2014 I am the director of the Islamic Baydha Project in Petra, Jordan, which is part of my broader research project, the Late Petra Project. As a result of my interest in ceramics, I carry on a study of chronology and characteristics of handmade pottery of the Islamic period in southern Transjordan, Petra in particular. After teaching for five years at American college study abroad and professional formation programmes, I am currently conducting a programme of training in archaeological fieldwork based in Petra and, for the academic year 2020-2021, I am a visiting professor at the University of Shanghai. My publications currently in progress focus on the subjects of my PhD research and the one of Islamic-period handmade pottery in Transjordan.
Education and qualifications
- 2014 - Cardiff University: PhD “Settlement in Crusader Transjordan, (1100-1189): a Historical and Archaeological Study”.
- 2002 - University of Florence, Italy: Laurea Degree: “Characteristics and Forms of Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: The Contribution of Archaeology”.
- 1999 - University of Siena, Italy, Department of Archaeology, Professional Diploma in Buildings Archaeology.
- 1995-1996 - Royal Holloway University of London: Erasmus Exchange Student.
- Shanghai International Studies University, Institute for the Global History of Civilizations: Visiting professor of Archaeology (2020-2021).
- Islamic Baydha Project (Petra, Jordan): Director (2014-present)
- Council for British Research in the Levant: Consultant (2019); Acting Deputy Director, the Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem (2016; 2017-2018); Post-doctoral Fellow (2016-2017). Doctoral Fellow (2009; 2011).
- W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem: Research Fellow 2018-2019.
- German Protestant Institute of Archaeology, Amman: Research Fellow: (2015).
- Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, TOPOI excellence cluster: Post-Doctoral Senior Fellow (2014-2015).
- American Center of Oriental Research, Amman, Jordan. Bikai Fellow (2013-2014; 2009-2010; 2007-2008; 2006-2007); De Vries Fellow, (2007-2008).
- Columbia University, New York City, Dept of History, (2006). Visiting Scholar.
- New York University, City University of New York, Florence University of the Arts, Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute (American exchange programmes), Florence, Italy: professor of archaeology, art history and Italian language. (2003-2008).
- Comune di Siena, Italy: instructor in archaeological analysis of walls and plasters in professional course (1999-2001).
Honours and awards
Other grants awarded for PhD and MA research projects
- Art and Humanities Research Council: (2008-2014).
- Economic History Society: (2009; 2013)
- Medieval Settlement Research Group: (2012).
- Palestine Exploration Fund: (2012).
- Medieval Pottery Research Group: (2010)
- Cardiff University: Ursula Henriques Prize and Charles Coles TravellingScholarship (2009).
- Economic History Society: (2009; 2013)
- Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy, Mobility Programme Researcher. (2006).
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy, Research Fellow. (1998).
Grants awarded for the Islamic Baydha Project
- The Barakat Trust: (2014-2020)
- Palestine Exploration Fund: (2014-2018)
- The Altajir Trust: (2019)
Publication grants awarded for Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant. The Archaeology and History of the Latin East, co-edited volume with K. Lewis, J. Thompson and B. Major (2014-2015).
- Institute of Historical Research, University of London
- Barakat Trust
- Robert Kiln Trust
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust
- Council for British Research in the Levant
- Council for British Research in the Levant
- Palestine Exploration Fund
- Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East
- European Association of Archaeologists
- The archaeology and history of the Crusader period in the Middle East
- Archaeology of the Islamic period in the Middle East
- Chronology of Islamic-period handmade pottery
- Medieval Mediterranean Archaeology
- Buildings Archaeology
- Methodologies of archaeological research
- Cultural Heritage and engagement of local communities
Sinibaldi, M., K. Lewis, B. Major and J. Thompson (eds.) (2016), Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant. The Archaeology and History of the Latin East. University of Wales Press.
Refereed journal articles and book sections
- Sinibaldi, M., (2020) “Islamic Era Ceramics”, in Patricia Bikai, Megan Perry, and Chrysanthos Kanellopoulos, Petra: The North Ridge. Amman, Jordan: American Center of Oriental Research.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2019) “Karak Castle in the Lordship of Transjordan: Observations on the Chronology of the Crusader-period Fortress”, in P. Edbury, D. Pringle and B. Major,“Bridge of Civilisations.” The Near East and Europe c.1100-1300, Oxford, Archaeopress, 97-114.
- Knodell, A.R., S.E. Alcock, C. Cloke, T. Erickson-Gini, C. Feldman, G. Rollefson, M. Sinibaldi, C. Tuttle, T.M. Urban, C. Vella. (2017). “The Petra Area and Wadi Silaysil Survey: Regional Survey with the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project” (American Journal of Archaeology, 121.4, Oct. 2017).
- Sinibaldi, M., (2016), “Settlement in the Petra Region During the Crusader Period: a Summary of the Historical and Archaeological Evidence”, in M. Sinibaldi, K. Lewis, J. Thompson and B. Major (eds.), Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant. The Archaeology and History of the Latin East, Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 81-102.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2016), “The ceramics from the later phases of occupation at the monastic site of Jabal Harun”, in Z. Fiema, J. Frosen and M. Holappa, Petra, the Mountain of Aaron. Vol. II., Societas Scientiarium Fennica, 202-211.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2013) “The pottery from the 11th-20th centuries from the FJHP survey. Ceramics, Settlement and Pilgrimage at Jabal Harun during the Late Islamic periods”, in P. Kouki and M. Lavento, Petra, the Mountain of Aaron. Vol. III. The Archaeological Survey, Societas Scientiarium Fennica, 168-192.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2007) “The artefacts of area 6000 C”. First Results. In Vannini et al., Archeologia dell' insediamento Crociato in Transgiordania. Il progetto Shawbak, Archeologia Medievale 33, 2007, 70-74.
Fieldwork reports and other articles
- Sinibaldi, M., (in press) Islamic Baydha Project, seasons 2018 and 2019. “Archaeology in Jordan,” ACOR newsletter, edited by J. Green, B. Porter and C. B. Shelton
- Sinibaldi, M., (2019) “The Islamic Baydha Project, Baydha (Petra Region), season 2018”, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 151:3-4, 252-255.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2018) Islamic Baydha Project, seasons 2016 and 2017. “Archaeology in Jordan,” ACOR newsletter, edited by J. Green, B. Porter and C. B. Shelton, pp.74-75.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2016), The Islamic Baydha Project, seasons 2014 and 2015, in G. Corbett et al., “Archaeology in Jordan, 2014 and 2015 seasons”, American Journal of Archaeology, 120.4, 660.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2015), “Islamic Bayda Project, Bayda (Petra Region), season 2014”. Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 147.2, 160-167.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2013), “The Ceramic Assemblage from the Later phases at Tomb 303. Settlement in Wadi Ath-Thugrah in the Islamic Period,” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 57, 167-178.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2013),” Settlement of Crusader Transjordan: an Archaeological Survey”. Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 2013, 161.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2013), “Archaeology and History of Crusader-period Settlements: 12th century sites in Transjordan.” Bulletin of the Council for British Research in the Levant, 62-65.
- Sinibaldi, M., (2013), “The Medieval Ceramic Assemblage from Khirbet an-Nawafla: the Franks and their Pottery in 12th century Petra,” The Medieval Pottery Research Group Newsletter, 2.
- Sinibaldi, M. and C. A. Tuttle (2011) “Brown University Petra Archaeological Project: 2010 Excavations at Islamic Bayda”, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 55, 2011.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2010) ‘Villages of Crusader Transjordan: a survey of archaeological sources’, Bulletin of the Council for British Research in the Levant, 60-63.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2009) ‘The Franks in Southern Transjordan and the contribution of Ceramic Studies. A Preliminary Report on the Pottery Assemblages of Bayda and Wadi Farasa’, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 53, 2009, 449-464.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2009) Twelve entries for artifacts descriptions (Medieval pottery from Shawbak castle and ceramics of the Crusader period from Petra), in Catalogue of the Exhibition From Petra to Shawbak, Archaeology of a Frontier, edited by G. Vannini and M. Nucciotti, 2009, Florence.
- Sinibaldi, M. (2007) “Crusader Archaeology in Southern Jordan”. American Center of Oriental Research Newsletter, n.18, 2006, 4-6.
The Islamic Baydha Project
The Islamic Baydha Project, affiliated with the Council for British Research in the Levant, was launched in 2014 and is part of the broader Late Petra Project which aims at reconstructing the history of the still largely neglected Islamic period in Petra. Through the detailed study of ceramics from this period, I have challenged the common narrative of Petra being largely abandoned after the Byzantine period with the exception of the Crusader period, and I have demonstrated that there was no significant chronological gap in the occupation of the Petra region. Instead, the region included a high number of sites such as villages, probably mostly based on agriculture, like Baydha. The Islamic village at Baydha consists of the most substantial, accessible evidence of the Islamic period in the Petra region and includes the only two mosques discovered and excavated in the region.
The project takes a holistic approach where the components of research, training and community engagement all work in synergy. Archaeological training is offered to both Jordanian and international archaeologists. As a project that involves the study of the relatively recent past, it has been successful in engaging the local community of Baydha with their own cultural heritage; in addition, since our first season in 2014 the project has actively participated in community engagement by hosting an annual Schools Day, an initiative held in partnership with the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority.
To learn more:
Blog piece for the Council for British Research in the Levant webpage:
“The Islamic Baydha Project: archaeology, training and community engagement in the Petra region” (December 2019)
Blog piece for the British Academy webpage (March 2018).
"Did Petra's inhabitants really abandon the city?"
Press reviews and media coverage
- Kingdom's Medieval History shows adaptation, continuity, scholar says. Article on The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, February 2016.
- Archaeologists discuss overlooked treasures at Amman conference. Article on The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, June 2016.
- Foreign Archaeologists Tour Crusader-era castles in Jordan, to reflect on link between art, archaeology. Article on The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, November 2016.
- Old-fashioned views affect study of Frankish presence in Petra--Italian scholar. Article on The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, April 2017.
- Archaeological project explores Beidha during the Islamic era. Article on The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, December, 2017.
- Detailed history of Karak castle discoverable by analyzing architecture—archaeologist. The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, December, 2018.
- Petra region still holds completely untapped potential--archaeologist. The Jordan Times by Saeb Rawashdeh, April 2019.
- Letter from Jordan: Beyond Petra, by Sarah Toth Stub, Archaeology Magazine (Archaeological Institute of America), November-December 2019 (on the results of the Late Petra Project and the Islamic Baydha Project)