Mustafa Ahmad


Statut Doctorant associé

À l’Ifpo de 2014 à 2016 en tant que Doctorant MAE (Aide à la mobilité internationale)

Département Etudes arabes, médiévales et modernes

Site Erbil


Domains of Research

  • Islamic Archaeology in Northern Iraq and Syria
  • Early and Middle Islamic Pottery
  • Landscape Archaeology 

Research Project

   During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as excavations in Iraq were mainly driven by the ambition to uncover legendary sites such as Nineveh, Nimrud, Islamic levels were often only briefly documented or simply removed to reach earlier horizons. As a consequence, many discoveries of  Early Islamic phases remained initially unstudied, although some material has survived in museum collections.
   Despite the generally systematic excavation techniques, stratigraphic divisions were rather coarse and the level of recording varied greatly. Inadequate field records and poor stratigraphy, however, frustrated attempts to gain a tighter chronological control.
   What seems common to many of the projects done in past times is that their research activities remained unfinished. Instead we are left with a number of preliminary results and interim reports. The premature end to ongoing studies certainly represents a major factor in the persistent deficit of Occupation an settlements studies dedicated to the Early Islamic period.
   With increasing stability throughout the country but especially in the north, now is a good time to take stock of what is known of the landscapes of northern Iraq and to suggest promising future directions for research.
   The greatest resurgence, however, has been in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, comprising the northern provinces of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah, and Dohuk. Since 1991, it has been administered in a semi-autonomous fashion, and has almost entirely escaped the post-2003 violence that swept the south. For the first time in decades, archaeological research in the Kurdistan Region is flourishing.
   My project is concentrating on the Occupation in Northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) in the Early Islamic Period and putting a clear classification about the patterns of Settlements and Landscape through Historical Sources and Archaeological Discoveries (Especially Ceramic) focusing more on Sulaimaniyah and Erbil Regions. The interest to study these areas would be to understand how people lived and also how the ruling power considered a region of border between different geographical and political spaces. None of the places cited in texts are well localized; and surveys give more information to the study of topographical history. As textual evidence are only scarce, new data from the Islamic period would help to answer to the questions of defense of the territory, of road network system, of agricultural development and of economic and social evolution through this time.  



  • 2004-2006 : License in Archaeology, Aleppo University.
  • 2006-2008 : Diplomat in Semitics, Aleppo University.
  • 2008-2012 : Master in Classic Antiquity, Arab and Islamic Archaeology, Damascus University.
    • Research Title: "Amphorae in Early Islamic Pottery in Bilad ash-Sham (VI – X Century)",
    • Supervised by: prof. Maamoun Abdulkarim, Damascus University and prof. Marie-Odile Rousset, CNRS, UMR 5291, Gremmo, Lyon
  • 2012-... PhD in History & Archaeology, Université Lyon 2 – Lumière.
    • Research Title« Peuplement et culture matérielle en Iraq du Nord aux débuts de l’islam (VIIe-XIVe siècles) »
    • Supervised by: prof. Dominique Valerian, Paris-1 Sorbonne Uni. and prof. Marie-Odile Rousset, CNRS, UMR 5291, Gremmo, Lyon


  • 2003 : Member of the Italian mission in Tell Mardikh/Ebla (Syria) directed by Paolo Mathiae.
  • 2004 : Member of the Belgian mission in Chagar Bazar (Syria) directed by Onhan Tunca.
  • 2004 : Member of the German mission in Aleppo citadel (Syria) directed by Kai Kohlmeyer.
  • 2005-2006 : Member of the German mission in Munbaqa (Syria) directed by Ditmar Machule.
  • 2009-2010 : Member of the Franco-Syrian mission of North Syria (Bara – Ruwieha) directed by Maamoun Abdulkarim and Gerard Charpantier.
  • 2010 : Member of the Franco-Syrian mission in Qinnasrin (Syria) directed by Marie-Odile Rousset.


  • 2012 : Member of Community Development Team for Humanitarian Researches in Damascus Country-side, DGAM, Damascus.
  • 2012-2013 : Director and Scientific Supervisor of the Library of Department of Archaeology, Damascus University.
  • 2012-2013 : Director of the Scientific section in the Website of Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), Damascus.
  • 2013 : Scientific and Research Team's Manager in IT-DGAM in GIS projects, Damascus.

Certificates, Scholarships and Awards

  • University Certificates
    • 2006 : License Certificate from Aleppo University in Archaeology.
    • 2009 : Diplomat Certificate from Aleppo University in Semitics.
    • 2012 : Master Certificate from Damascus University in Classic Antiquity, Arab and Islamic  Archaeology
  • Research Scholarships
    • 2008 : Master-Scholarship to study Islamic pottery in Damascus University from the Ministry of High Education/Syria.
    • 2009 : Baden-Württemburg Scholarship for Students exchange between Damascus University and Freiburg University in Germany for one year.
    • 2012 : Research Scholarship (Bourse de Recherche) from Ifpo-Damas  (Institute français de proche orient) for 6 months.
    • 2014 : Doctoral Research Bourse (Aide à la mobilité international) from Ifpo-Beirut (Institute français de proche orient) in Erbil (Northern Iraq) for Two years.
  • Other Certificates
    • 2007 : Certificate of Touristic Habilitation for working in Tourism Agencies awarded by Ministry of Tourism-Damascus.
    • 2009 : Certificate of Researches of archaeological pottery and its Techniques from Dutch archaeological center, Leiden University and Damascus University.
    • 2009 : Attestation of Geographic Information System (GIS) using ArcView program in the dept. of Research and Geoinformatics, Damascus University. 

Practical Experiences and Skills

  • Technique of Excavation and Field Working.
  • Documentation and Museum Fields Working.
  • Experience in dealing with Cadastral Installations (Theodolite, Niveau, Total Station)
  • Archaeological Drawing (Sections, Plan Drawing, pottery, Flints)
  • Scientific and Academic Researches and Books Editing.
  • Lectures arrangements.
  • Electronic Documentation in Archaeology.
  • Experience in preparing Workshops and Meetings.


  • Not published
    • Amphora in Early Islamic Pottery in the Levant. (in Arabic)
  • Published
    • 2010, "Byzantine Amphorae in Early Islamic Pottery". Adiyat Halab, vol. 13, Aleppo. (in Arabic)
    • 2011, "Abbasid Style in Islamic Wall Painting, Descriptive and Artistic Study". Adiyat Halab, vol. 14, Aleppo. (in Arabic)
    • 2012, "Amphora in Early Islamic Pottery in Northern Syria, Classification Study" Mahd al-Hadarat (Land of Civilizations) vol. 17-18. (in Arabic)
    • 2013, "Late Roman Amphora 5 Type in Early Islamic Pottery in Southern Syria" AAAS. Vol. 51-52. (in Arabic)
    • 2014, "Amphora", Item published in: Arabic Archaeological Encyclopedia in Syria. Damascus. (in Arabic)
    • 2014, "Apse", Item published in: Arabic Archaeological Encyclopedia in Syria. Damascus. (in Arabic)
    • 2014, "Acropolis", Item published in: Arabic Archaeological Encyclopedia in Syria. Damascus. (in Arabic)
    • 2014, "Glazing", Item published in: Arabic Archaeological Encyclopedia in Syria. Damascus. (in Arabic)


  • Kurdish : Mother Language
  • Arabic : Second Mother Language
  • English : Advanced (Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening)
  • French : Very Good (Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening)
  • German : Good (Speaking, Reading, Listening)
  • Turkish : Good (Speaking, Reading, Listening)