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Masjid al-Ashab, Quanzhou, © Timothy Insoll 

© T. Insoll 

Meet the organising committee


Organising Committee co-Chair

Professor Stephanie Wynne-Jones is an Africanist archaeologist with a particular specialism in the archaeology of Africa's eastern (Swahili) coast. She has worked on sites along that coast in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Her work explores themes of urbanism, trade and identity. She has an interest in material culture and has published on many aspects of Swahili object worlds.

organising committee co-chair

Professor Michelle Alexander specialises in the application of bioarchaeological techniques to aid in understanding the dynamics of multi-faith societies in the historical periods from the dietary perspective. Her research focusses on exploring the diet and resource base of communities at the interface of major socio-cultural and economic transitions, with a particular interest in medieval Islamic and/or multicultural societies. She is also interested in the dynamics of human-animal interactions made visible through biomolecular evidence.



Lizzie is a PhD researcher in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. 

Their PhD project investigates how we can integrate a Chaîne Opératoire approach to pottery studies with Organic Residue Analysis to better understand consumption practices along the Swahili coast from the 1st-early 2nd millennium AD. They have a broader interest in the archaeology of the Islamic world, the creation of cuisines, and what material culture and changes in technology can tell us about the formation of identities, from the 6th century AD up until the modern day across Western Asia and East Africa.

organising committee member

Nura Hassan is a PhD researcher in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. Her PhD research covers the medieval Swahili coast, particularly at the site of Shanga (dated between the 8th and 15th centuries) with a focus on investigating diet and migration through the exploration of subsistence economies and social dynamics within coastal populations. She has also received a master’s in bioarchaeology with her dissertation centred around the potential of bioarchaeological research along the Somali and Swahili coasts. Her broader research interests extend to the archaeology of the Islamic World across East Africa, mobility and migration and the spread of Islamic tradition in medieval Somalia and the Swahili coast.

Qian Yiping.jpg


Qian Yiping is a visiting PhD student in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. His doctoral research focuses on examining the transformations of Swahili civilization in the Middle Ages from the perspective of ancient Chinese porcelain. It primarily explores the relationships between Chinese ceramics, architectural environments, and the construction of symbolic meanings in the Medieval Swahili material culture. Additionally, his broader interests include the impact of Arab and Persian immigrant cultures on East Africa, the Islamization of East Africa, China-Africa relations, and historical archaeology in East Africa


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