ahrc-logo-forwebox brandDirhams for Slaves
Dirham hoards from Northern Europe, trade in Slavic slaves, and the emergence of Medieval Europe (800-1000)

Project team

Luke Treadwell

lukeLuke Treadwell is a historian and numismatist with interests in the history of pre-Mongol Islam. His doctoral thesis (1991), supervised by Professor Patricia Crone, was a political history of the Samanid state. He holds the post of University Lecturer in Islamic numismatics and curator of Islamic coins in the Heberden Coin Room, Ashmolean Museum: he teaches in the Khalili Research Centre for Islamic material culture and is a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He is the series of the Sylloge of Islamic coins in the Ashmolean Museum.

His current research lies in two broad areas. Early Islamic coinage, beginning with the reforms of Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, has provided a longstanding focus, leading now, after several publications on the numismatic material, to work on the questions of broader interest on which coinage can provide fresh perspectives, such as the style and rhetoric of the caliphal office under the Umayyads and the place of the Quranic text within the developing material culture of the early Islamic community. Meanwhile, The Dirhams for Slaves project has given him the chance to return to interconnected themes associated with the emergence of the post-Abbasid successor states of eastern Iran - the roots of early Islamic kingship, the production and circulation of Samanid precious metal coinage in Central Asia and northern Europe, and the courtly patronage of New Persian literature. His role within the project is to contribute towards the preparation of a catalogue of the imitations of Islamic coinages struck in the northern lands in the 4th/10th century and to write a monograph on the politics, economy and culture of the Samanids.

Jonathan Shepard

Jonathan ShepardJonathan Shepard works on the many levels of interaction between northerners and the inhabitants of the Byzantine world, in terms of both the material and spiritual gains accruing to the Rus and of the uses of the Rus to Byzantine warfare and diplomacy. Under the aegis of the 'Dirhams for Slaves' project, he will be paying particular attention to miscellaneous evidence about the taking of captives and dealings in slaves.

Jonathan Shepard studied for his DPhil (Byzantium and Russia in the eleventh century: a study in political and ecclesiastical relations) at New College, University of Oxford under Professor Dimitri Obolensky. After a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford, he was appointed Assistant Lecturer (1977-82) and then University Lecturer (1982-99) in Russian History at the University of Cambridge. At Cambridge he was a Fellow of Selwyn College and then Peterhouse, as well as directing studies in Slavonic Languages for Christ's College.

He is a member of the following editorial boards: New Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge Series on Medieval Life and Thought, Oxford Studies in Byzantium, Byzantinoslavica and Al-Masaq. Co-author of The Emergence of Rus (1996) with Simon Franklin, with whom he co-edited Byzantine Diplomacy (1992), his edited volumes include The Expansion of Orthodox Europe (2007) and The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire (2008). Shepard has published over 70 articles on subjects ranging from Anglo-Saxon settlements on the Black Sea to the First Crusade; he recently published a collection of these in Emergent Elites and Byzantium in the Balkans and East-Central Europe (2011). He was made Doctor Honoris Causa at St Kliment Ohrid University, Sofia, for his contribution to the history of medieval Bulgaria.

Bibliography in PDF format

Marek Jankowiak

marekd4sMarek Jankowiak obtained his PhD in 2009 for a dissertation on the Monothelete controversy in the seventh-century Byzantium written in a co-tutelle scheme at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris (under Professor Denis Feissel) and at the University of Warsaw (under Professor Adam Ziółkowski). In 2009-11 he acquired manifold experience as a strategy consultant with McKinsey&Company. He was Newton International Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2012-13, and is now Research Associate at the Khalili Research Centre and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

He works on the early medieval slave trade, in particular on the system of trade that appears to have connected the Islamic world and Northern Europe between ca 800 and 1000. Together with Gert Rispling and Luke Treadwell, he is also preparing the publication of a catalogue of dirham imitations, produced probably mostly in Volga Bulgaria and Khazaria, to entities known to have played the role of intermediaries in the Scandinavian-Islamic slave trade.

Academia.edu page

Bibliography in PDF format

Jacek GruszczynskiJacek photo small

Jacek obtained a MA degree in archaeology in 2005 at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, with a dissertation regarding the British Bronze Age metalwork in the context of hoards and hoarding and its political, social and ritual implications, published in an abbreviated version in 2007.

Between 2000 and 2004, concurrently with his graduate studies, Jacek worked as a commercial archaeologist on large scale, multi-period rescue excavations carried out in connection with the government-funded road schemes in southern Poland. From 2005 to 2012 Jacek was employed by Oxford Archaeology, one of the largest commercial archaeological practices in Europe, where he was involved in a large number of projects varying from rural Bronze Age settlements and field systems, through deeply stratified Roman and medieval urban to 19th-century industrial sites. Of note could be projects featured in the national media, including Hampton Court Palace, Base Court resurfacing featured in Channel 4’s Time Team Special ‘Henry VIII's Lost Palaces’, East Kent Access Road featured in BBC’s ‘Digging for Britain’, and the mass burial of Vikings found at Ridgeway Hill, near Weymouth, featured in National Geographic’s ‘Viking Apocalypse’. In 2012 Jacek put his trowel away to join Ramboll’s (previously Gifford) Cultural Heritage and Archaeology department as an archaeological consultant.

As a DPhil student and project member from October 2013 Jacek combines his professional archaeological experience with a personal and academic interest in the mechanisms determining the deposition of hoards within the social, political and ritual context of the Viking Age Europe. The dissertation aims to concentrate on a comparative study of the archaeological contexts of hoards of Arabic silver in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe through a series of regional case-studies of hoarding ‘hot-spots’ identified by a macro-scale analysis of deposit distribution. Temporal dynamics and spatial analysis of hoard deposition will be considered on regional and micro-scale to identify the patterns of thesaurisation with the aim of reviewing the possible reasons for the hoarding (and non-retrieval) of Arabic silver in the Viking Age.

Academia.edu page

Gert Rispling (KMK Stockholm)