Jeremy Johns

Position: Professor of the Art & Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean; Fellow of Wolfson College

Postal Address: The Khalili Research Centre, 3 St John Street, Oxford OX1 2LG, U.K.

Direct Telephone +44 (0)1865 278198



Autobiographical Note

View and download here.

Main Areas of Research

I am principally interested in relations between Muslim and Christian societies in the medieval Mediterranean as manifested in material and visual culture. My research has focused upon the archaeology of the transition from late antiquity to early Islam in the Levant and, especially, upon the archaeology, history and art history of Sicily under Islamic and Norman rule, from the Muslims' conquest of the island in the 9th century to the destruction of the Islamic community of Sicily by Frederick II in the 13th century.

Research Students:

I encourage enquiries from potential students wishing to conduct research in any of my main areas of research (see above), and especially from those interested in the art history and archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean in the 7th to 12th centuries, and in the archaeology, history and art history of Sicily under Islamic and Norman rule. Please contact me by email at least two months in advance of the Oxford application deadline, which usually falls in January of the year in which you are seeking admission.

I currently supervise or have recently supervised the following research students (for students who graduated before 2010, see KRC Students' Page):

  • Rosa Bacile D.Phil. (2010), 'The 'Dynastic Mausolea' of the Norman Period in the South of Italy, c. 1069-1189: A Study on the Form and Meaning of Burial Monuments in the Middle Ages'
  • Umberto Bongianino M.Phil. (2011–13); D.Phil. (2013–), 'The origin and development of Maghribī scripts: Epigraphic and calligraphic traditions of the western Islamic lands'.
  • Ifigeneia Georgala D.Phil. (2013–), 'Early Islamic textiles in the Benaki Museum, Athens'.
  • Udayan Daniel Ghose M.St. in Oriental Studies (2016–17).
  • Manuel GiardinoM.Phil. in Islamic Art and Archaelogy (2016–).
  • Laura Hinrichsen M.St. in Islamic Art and Archaeology (2015–16). DPhil. (2016–) 'The language of objects: changing visual expression in 13th-century metalwork from the Jazīra, Syria and Egypt' 
  • Lev Kapitaikin Lecturer in Byzantine and Islamic Arts, University of Tel Aviv. D.Phil. (2011), 'The Twelfth-century Paintings of the Ceilings of the Cappella Palatina, Palermo'
  • Péter Tamas Nagy M.St. in Islamic Art and Archaeology (2015–16). D.Phil. (2016–), The history of Islamic Shala in Rabat (Morocco), and the function of its funerary complex.
  • Joseph O'Hara D.Phil. (2014–), 'Safaitic vocabulary in the light of the Bedouin dialects of Syria and northern Arabaia as recorded by Alois Musil' (with Mr Macdonald).
  • Amanda Phillips Assistant Professor, Islamic and Ottoman Art and Material Culture, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia. D.Phil. (2010), 'Weaving as Livelihood, Style as Status: Ottoman Velvets in a Social and Economic Context, 1600-1750'.
  • Tim Power  Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology, Sheikh Zayed University, Abu Dhabi. D.Phil. (2010), 'The Red Sea Basin during the "Long" Late Antiquity (AD 500-1000)'

Current Projects

Follow the links below for further details of some my current projects:

OCIANA: Online Corpus of Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia

Recent & Forthcoming Lectures

In Memoriam Godfrey Wettinger - video

Forthcoming & Recent Publications

  • ‘Baghdad and Jerusalem: musicians and dancers in the painted ceilings of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo’, in Markus Ritter (ed.), On Iconography and Islamic Art, Berlin, 2015.
  • (with Elise Morero et alii), ‘The carving and polishing techniques of Fatimid rock crystal ewers (10th–12th cent. A.D.)’, in Craft and People: Proceedings of the International Conference, British Museum, 1–2 November 2012, London, 2015.
  • ‘The Palermo Qurʾān (AH373/982–83AD) in its Historical Context’, forthcoming in Glaire Anderson, Corisande Fenwick and Mariam Rosser-Owen (eds.), The Aghlabids & Their Neighbors: Art & Material Culture in Ninth-Century North Africa, Brill Academic Publishers, Arts & Archaeology of the Islamic World Series, 2017.
  • ‘Diversity by design’, Apollo: The International Art Magazine, June 2016, Volume CLXXXIII, No. 643, pp. 80–85.
  • ‘A Tale of Two Ceilings. The Cappella Palatina in Palermo and the Mouchroutas in Constantinople’, in Alison Ohta, J. Michael Rogers and Rosalind Wade Haddon (eds.), Art, Trade, and Culture in the Islamic World and Beyond: From the Fatimids to the MongolsStudies presented to Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Gingko Library Art Series, London, 2016pp. 58–73.
  • (with Vera von Falkenhausen and Nadia Jamil), ‘The Twelfth-century documents of St. George’s of Tròccoli (Sicily)’, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, 16, 2016, 1–84b.
  • ‘Arabic Inscriptions in the Cappella Palatina: Performativity, Audience, Legibility and Illegibility’, in Antony Eastmond (ed.), Viewing inscriptions in the Late Antique and Medieval Mediterranean, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 124–147.
  • ‘Muslim Artists and Christian Models in the Painted Ceilings of the Cappella Palatina’, in Rosa Bacile and John McNeill (eds), Romanesque and the Mediterranean: Patterns of Exchange across the Latin, Greek and Islamic Worlds c. 1000 - c. 1250, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, Leeds: Maney Publishing, 2015, pp. 59–89.
  • 'Muslim artists, Christian patrons and the painted ceilings of the Cappella Palatina (Palermo, Sicily, circa 1143 A.D.’, Hadeeth ad-Dar (Dār al-Athār al-Islamīya, Kuwait), 40 (2015) pp. 12–16.
  • ‘A new Latin-Arabic document from Norman Sicily (November 595H/1198CE)’, in Maurice Pomerantz and Aram Shahin (eds), The Heritage of Arabo-Islamic Learning. Studies Presented to Wadad Kadi, Islamic Studies and Civilization, Leiden: Brill, 2015, pp. 111–166.
  • ‘Alexander in the Cappella Palatina’, in L’officina dello sguardo. Studi in onore di Maria Andaloro, ed. Giulia Bordi, Iole Carlettini, Maria Luigia Fobelli, Maria Raffaella Menna & Paola Pogliani, 2 vols, Rome, 2014, vol. 1, pp. 69–76.

Full List of Publications

A full list of my publications is available here.

Photograph of Jeremy Johns