Photo de profil Nicolo Pini             

Chargé de recherches (FNRS) - Suppléant Agnès Vokaer

CReA-PATRIMOINE - Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine
Université libre de Bruxelles • CP 133/01, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50, B-1050 Bruxelles
+32 (0)472 98 64 05


PhD in Classic Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Cologne in 2017. Thesis: “Arab settlements. Tribal structures and spatial organizations in the Middle East between Hellenistic and Early Islamic periods”, published by Archaeopress in 2019 

Postdoctoral researcher at the Annemarie-Schimmel-Kolleg in Bonn (2017-2018) in the framework of the program "History and Society during the Mamluk Era (1250-1517)" 

Postdoctoral researcher COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie at the Université libre de Bruxelles (2020-2022) 

FNRS postdoctoral fellowship (CR - Chargé de recherches), still ongoing (2022-2025) at the Université libre de Bruxelles. 

Current research

Project FNRS-CR: “‘Urban hubs’ in the countryside: framing the development of semi-urban settlements in the Near East between the 3rd and 9th century AD.” (URBHUB) 
The project aims to investigate a phenomenon that appears to characterise the Near East between the 3rd and 9th centuries AD, namely: the development of a considerable number of settlements featuring both urban and rural features. The phenomenon, which represents a methodological and interpretative challenge for archaeologists, has been studied in different regions and for specific time periods, and while evidence for single case studies is quite abundant throughout the Near East, an overview that brings together local and regional data is still missing.  
This work intends to analyse the phenomenon in the Near East through the detailed examination of a series of case studies, selected also on the basis of the currently available published documentation. Given the complexity of the topic, a variety of sources and materials will be taken into account. The core is constituted by the archaeological and architectural evidence at the site itself and across the hinterland. From a methodological point of view, integrating site-focused analyses within a broader landscape perspective is crucial to better understand and interpret the material evidence. Likewise, environmental data, when available, constitutes a key dataset. At the same time, for the specific case studies, a survey of the epigraphic and papyrological evidence will be carried out alongside analysis of the available written sources.  
Ultimately, the main goal of the project is to attempt to define the different chronological and geographical patterns in the development of these semi-urban settlements, as well as to verify if there are recurring trans-regional features through a comparative analysis of different territorial districts in the Near East. Are we are describing then different, independent, and local phenomena related to factors that are limited to specific geographical areas and time periods; or rather can we identify a single, broader phenomenon, giving way to extremely regional results? 

Current scientific collaborations

  • Platform Panorama, at ULB: methodology and techniques of integrated aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry 

  • Archaeological investigation at Khirbet beit Loya (Israel): excavation of the hilltop site with extensive Byzantine, Early Islamic and Middle Islamic remains; archaeological survey of the terrace system; part of the DFG-funded project “TERRSOC: ‘Reading’ Ancient Landscapes” (Grant holder: Prof. Dr. Bethany Walker, University of Bonn, Germany, in partnership with Institutes of Archaeology at Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities in Israel): 2022-2025. 

Selected publications


  • Pini N., Arab settlements. Tribal structures and spatial organizations in the Middle East between Hellenistic and Early Islamic periods, Archaeopress, Oxford 2019: ISBN 978-1-78969-361-4; ISBN 978-1-78969-362-1 (e-Pdf) 

  • Bethany J. Walker, B. Dolinka, N. Pini, Life on the Farm in Late Medieval Jerusalem: The Peasant Farmstead of Khirbet Beit Mazmil, its Occupants and their Industry over Five Centuries, Equinox, Sheffield (accepted, expected in press in January 2024) 

  • Pini N., “The different fates of architectures: preliminary thoughts on reuse and reoccupation of vernacular architecture from Late Antiquity to the Middle Islamic period in the Near East.”, in Journal of Islamic Archaeology 8.1 (2021), pp. 23-51: ISSN (print) 2051-9710; ISSN (online) 2051-9729 

  • Pini N., “Walls of Identities. Built environment as Social Marker”, in Bethany J. Walker and Abdelkader al-Ghouz (eds.), Living with Nature and Things: Contributions to a New Social History of the Middle Islamic Periods (Mamluk Studies - Band 23), V&R Unipress, Göttingen 2020, pp. 375-400: ISBN Print: 9783847111030 – ISBN E-Book: 9783847011033 

  • Pini N., “Semi-urban or semi-rural settlements: a new definition of urban centres required?”, in Achim Lichtenberger, Oren Tal, and Zeev Weiss (eds.), Judaea/Palaestina and Arabia: Cities and Hinterlands in Roman and Byzantine Times. Volume 44, Panel 8.6; Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology Cologne/Bonn, 22 – 26 May 2018. Archaeology and Economy in the Ancient World, (edited by Martin Bentz and Michael Heinzelmann), Propylaeum, Heidelberg 2019, pp. 5-17: ISBN: 978-3-947450-78-7; ISBN: 978-3-947450-77-0 (e-Pdf) 

Liste des publications encodées dans DI-Fusion (dépôt institutionnel de l’ULB)