Péter Nagy (Hungary)

Life After Ertegun House

In the long run, probably the most significant result of my year as an Ertegun Scholar was that I could continue my project on the DPhil level at Oxford. My main research strand focuses on the funerary architecture of the Western Mediterranean, sites that are built for the deceased, but used and experienced by the living, with special attention to Shālla (Chellah). This medieval town, built over the Roman garrison city of Sala Colonia, is situated on the outskirts of Rabat, Morocco, beside the splendid landscape of the Bu Regreg River. It is particularly famous for containing the funerary complex where, between 1258 and 1351, the Marinid sovereigns were interred alongside some of their relatives and dignitaries. The rulers’ munificent patronage of this site created what is arguably one of the most important monuments of Morocco from the period. The royal shrine was meant to maintain the deceased rulers’ memory and, in that manner, to establish and enhance the legitimacy of the dynasty. Over the summer of 2018, I began directing the project ‘Sultans’ Paradise’ with the cooperation of fellow students from Hungary, Turkey, and Morocco, aiming to create an accurate 3D documentation of Islamic Shālla.

Apart from my DPhil, I also conduct research on Islamic artefacts in medieval Europe, and am particularly keen to study the little-understood pseudo-Arabic coinage of 12th-century Hungary. In addition, I’m currently curating a small exhibition on Islamic art in the Ferenc Hopp Museum in Budapest, which will go on display in spring 2019. I also have an interest in 3D documentation in archaeology, cultural heritage protection and presentation, the history of Orientalism, and 19th-century explorers of the Islamic world. Finally, as much as other obligations allow me, I participate in archaeological projects of other, far greater, scholars.