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Timothy Insoll (born 1967) is a British archaeologist and academic. He specialises in the archaeology of religions and rituals and, in particular, the archaeology of Islam in Africa, and African indigenous religions. He is a lecturer at the University of Manchester, and has published widely.

Timothy Insoll
Born1967 (age 51–52)
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
St John's College, Cambridge
Known forExcavation and research in sub-Saharan Africa and Bahrain


Early lifeEdit

Insoll undertook his undergraduate studies in archaeology at the University of Sheffield from 1989 to 1992, before going on to work on his PhD at St John's College, Cambridge from 1992 to 1995.

Academic careerEdit

Having completed his doctorate, Insoll became a research fellow at St John's College, Cambridge (1995–1998). Appointed as a lecturer at Manchester in 1999, he was promoted to the position of senior lecturer, and then reader in 2004, being awarded a personal chair in 2005, where he is professor of African and Islamic archaeology. He is an honorary curator of the Ghana Museums Board and honorary academic curator of African Archaeology at Manchester Museum.

Insoll is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and is currently on the editorial boards of Antiquity, Ghana Social Science Journal, Journal of African Archaeology, Journal of Islamic Archaeology, Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, and Material Religion. Previously he was on the editorial board of the African Archaeological Review.

Insoll is an active field archaeologist having directed archaeological fieldwork in Gao and Timbuktu in Mali, Dahlak Kebir in Eritrea, Gujarat in western India, the Tong Hills of northern Ghana, Bilad al-Qadim in Bahrain, and currently in the Harar region of eastern Ethiopia. He has also participated in field projects in Rakai district in Uganda, on Pemba Island, in Koma Land in northern Ghana, and in the Mursi area of south-west Ethiopia.

Personal lifeEdit

Insoll is a Roman Catholic.[1]



Title Year Co-author(s) Publisher ISBN
Islam, Archaeology and History: Gao Region (Mali) Ca.AD 900-1250 1996 n/a Tempus Reparatum (Oxford) 0860548325
Case Studies in Archaeology and World Religion: The Proceedings of the Cambridge Conference 1999 n/a (edited volume) Archaeopress (Oxford) 0860439569
The Archaeology of Islam 1999 n/a Blackwell (Oxford) 0631201157
Urbanism, Archaeology and Trade: Further Observations on the Gao Region (Mali). The 1996 Fieldseason Results 2000 n/a British Archaeological Reports (Oxford) 1841711233
Archaeology and World Religion 2001 n/a (edited volume) Routledge (London) 0415221552
The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa 2003 n/a Cambridge University Press (Cambridge) 0521657024
Belief in the Past: The Proceedings of the 2002 Manchester Conference on Archaeology and Religion 2004 n/a Archaeopress (Oxford) 1841715751
Archaeology, Religion, Ritual 2004 n/a Routledge (London) 0415253136
The Land of Enki in the Islamic Era: Pearls, Palms, and Religious Identity in Bahrain 2005 n/a Kegan Paul (London) 0710309600
The Archaeology of Identities: A Reader 2007 n/a Routledge (Abingdon)
Archaeology: The Conceptual Challenge 2007 n/a Duckworth (London)
Current Archaeological Research in Ghana 2008 n/a Archaeopress (Oxford) 9781407303345
An Archaeological Guide to Bahrain 2011 Rachel MacLean Archaeopress (Oxford)
The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion 2011 n/a (edited volume) Oxford University Press (Oxford)
Temporalising Anthropology. Archaeology in the Talensi Tong Hills, Northern Ghana 2013 Rachel MacLean, Benjamin Kankpeyeng Africa Magna (Frankfurt) 9783937248356



  1. ^ "Archaeology and Religion". BBC Radio 4. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2015.

External linksEdit