Robert Mahler awarded Sonata 18 grant

Dr. Robert Mahler of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw has been awarded a grant in the Sonata 18 competition. The National Science Center has assigned funding for his project “Muslim women in Fatimid Alexandria: Why did they die young? Biocultural factors in the change of living conditions for people buried at Kom el-Dikka in Mediaeval Alexandria compared to the rural Christian population on the fringes of Fayoum.”

Dr. Robert Mahler specializes in the archaeology and anthropology of death, and uses computing tools in his bioarchaeological research. His doctoral dissertation was published in 2021 in the form of the monograph “Changing Life in Egyptian Alexandria: The Testimony of the Islamic Cemetery on Kom el-Dikka“, (=Polish Publications in Mediterranean Archaeology 3, Peeters Publishers). He is currently the Head of the Department of African Archaeology at the PCMA UW, and since 2020, the director of the PCMA UW expedition in Naqlun.

In his new project, he aims to shed light on cultural and environmental changes underlying historical processes through the analysis of osteological remains from cemeteries at Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria and from Naqlun in the Fayoum oasis. The project is designed to aquire some information about the role and life of women in medieval Egypt, a topic that is hardly mentioned in historical sources, and also to investigate the impact of the changes that took place in the medieval Muslim community of Alexandria on their lives. The project is also expected to result in a biological and biocultural characterization of the two populations in historical and environmental contexts (abstract: PDF).