Long-term history in a Moroccan oasis zone: the Middle Draa Project

David Mattingly, Youssef Bokbot, Martin Sterry, Aurelie Cuénod, Corisande Fenwick, Maria Carmela Gatto, Nick Ray, Louise Rayne, Katrien Janin, Andrew Lamb, Mugnai Niccoló, Julia Nikolaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes the research questions and presents the initial ams dates of the Middle Draa Project (southern Morocco), a collaborative field survey project between the University of Leicester and the Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (insap) of Morocco. Starting from a very low baseline of past archaeological research in this pre-desert valley, the overall objective of the project is to establish the extent, character and chronology of the rich archaeology of the Wadi Draa. The results presented here detail a hitherto unknown phase of major occupation in the Draa in the 4th-6th centuries ad evidenced by complex hilltop settlements and extensive cairn cemeteries (an initial typology is presented). A second medieval phase comprised major urban centres that are contemporary with the Almoravid and Almohad periods of Moroccan history. Alongside these urban centres, there are the remains of substantial mudbrick oasis settlements and irrigation and field-systems of a contemporary date. A key contribution of this paper concerns the construction of an outline chronology based upon initial analysis of the ceramics collected, but crucially supplemented and supported by a major program of ams dating. The remote sensing and field survey data collected by the project enable us to develop some hypotheses concerning the long-term history of this important oasis valley.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-172
JournalJournal of African Archaeology
Issue number2
Early online date14 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2018


  • protohistory
  • Islamic archeology
  • landscape archeolohy
  • radiocarbon dating
  • irrigation


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