4.4.6 Minarets

Given the very specific form of the minaret (Bloom 1989; Hillenbrand 1994, 129-71) one might suppose that the identification within the aerial images of minarets, at least circular ones, would be relatively straightforward. However, it is more problematic than one might imagine. The collapse/erosion of buildings around a roughly square courtyard can create a circular central depression, which looks very like a circular structure on the aerial image.

Perhaps our best chance of isolating minarets is their juxtaposition with possible mosques: so looking for the combination of possible mosques and possible minaret bases on the imagery (although there is a certain circularity of argument here!).

There is also an interesting chronological issue. With the expansion of minaret building under the Seljuks, especially in the east (Hillenbrand 1994, 148-55), and given the importance of Merv to the Seljuks, we might expect to see a number of mosques having minarets added during this period.


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Last updated: Mon Sept 29 2008