MAIASP. 2021. No. 13

M.S. Gadjiev (Makhachkala, Russia), M.A. Gasanov (Makhachkala, Russia)

SARCOPHAGOUS TOMBSTONE WITH KUFIC INSCRIPTION OF THE DERBENT MUSLIM NECROPOLIS OF THE 11th 12th cc.

DOI: 10.53737/2713-2021.2021.28.23.035

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Pages: 942953

In 2020 during secure and rescue archaeological observations in Derbent, the Muslim burial ground, representing once vast separate section of medieval urban necropolis of Derbent outside the architecturally allocated shahristan, was identified. This site has more than 80 sarcophagus-shaped tombstones, which are conventionally referred to by their shape as sarcophaguses and dated to the last third of the 11th 12th centuries. Among them there is a single sarcophagus, on the southern longitudinal side of which there is an inset inscription epitaph, written in Arabic in Kufi handwriting. Its text reads: This is the grave of Muhammad, the tinsmith. May Allah have mercy on him!.

The monument is a rare example of sarcophagus-shaped tombstones with inscription. According to the epitaph, the buried man was a tinker and this information expands the range of craft specialties that existed in Derbent in the 11th 12th centuries, and indicates the specialization of handicraft work in the processing of non-ferrous metals, taking into account the existence of manufacturers of copper objects, coppersmiths in Derbent. At the same time, the text of the epitaph shows not only the profession, but also the nickname of the buried man Muhammad Lahim Muhammad Tinsmith. Its possible that this sarcophagus was installed over the burial of one of the respected representative of the Sufi community in Derbent of the last third of the 11th 12th centuries.

Key words: Caucasus, Derbent, Bab al-abwab, Muslim cemetery, tombstone, epitaph, Arabic epigraphy, Kufic writing.

Received June 11, 2021

Accepted for publication July 10, 2021

About the authors:

Gadjiev Murtazali Serazhutdinovich (Makhachkala, Russia). Dr. habil. (History), Professor, Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography, Dagestan Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

E-mail: murgadj@rambler.ru

Gasanov Magomedrashid Anvarbekovich (Makhachkala, Russia). PhD (History), Dagestan State University

E-mail: gasanoffrashid@mail.ru