Al-Fustat was established by the Islamic people in 642 A. D. as a new capital of Egypt in the suburbs of present day Cairo, replacing the older capital of Alexandria. Even after the capital moved to Cairo, it flourished as the center of trade, industry, religion, science and education of the Islam world. Al-Fustat was destroyed during the Crusade in 1168. Since the spread of pest in the middle of the 14th century, it has been deserted and has become a complete ruin. It is an important site for Islamic archaeology as it retains the structure of the original medieval town.
Waseda University started the excavation of the site in 1978. The research continued until 1984 (in collaboration with the Idemitsu Museum since 1980). The excavation has been continued by the Middle Eastern Culture Center since 1984. The total area of 1,760 square memers was excavated in those seven excavations during the first years, and a great number of objects and sites were discovered. Chinaware was found in abundance showing the prosperity of the town as a trading center of those days. Earthenware, water bottles with filters, Islamic pottery, oil lamps, glassware, accessories, tools and other object vital to an understanding of the life style of the Islamic period were also discovered. The study is still underway in Egypt and at Waseda University, but recently the final report was published by the Middle Eastern Culture Center.
Excavation site of al-Fustat
Pottery in situ
Excavated glass bottle
(First drafted: 20 February 1996)
(Last revised: 25 January 2000)