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Alexandre Bento is a researcher doing a PhD at the Institute of Medieval Studies (IEM)

Alexandre Bento is a researcher doing a PhD at the Institute of Medieval Studies (IEM) of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He carried out a study of various materials from the collection of Mértola Museum between 16 and 20 October 2023, at the facilities of the museum`s Technical Area, as part of his research into music and musical instruments from the Islamic period. Here is his thought on the experience with the Museum team:
‘Given the nature of the PhD research Im undertaking on music and the instruments of the Islamic period, I asked the Mértola Museum for their support. Almost nothing remains of al-Andalus in what is now Portugal, except for a few fragments of drums and musicology, and they almost only include chronologies from the Christian expansion and the respective Latinisation of the territory. In this way, the potential that archaeology has offered us in recent decades is proving to be fruitful, even if only investigated occasionally. The support, availability and collaboration of Dr Lígia Rafael and the technicians from the department, were truly exceptional and beyond expectations; for such things; technical skills are not enough, as is well known. It was an extraordinary support in terms of accessing and organising materials or sharing technical knowledge about the archaeological materials in Mértola. Given the very small group of people who work with archaeological materials, the organisation of the materials (and their respective records, for instance) and the skills that are used in the laboratory are far beyond what was expected. They provided me with an excellent and fruitful week of research support, whose results were extremely important and will enable me to better understand – and disseminate to all audiences – music, its instruments, practices and contexts related to al-Andalus, particularly in Mértola. We will then be able to better understand the past and its influences up to the present, while offering tools for recreating performances so that we can hear what the music of that era would have been like.
I can`t end without once again expressing my unconditional gratitude for the support of Dr Lígia Rafael and the technicians Nélia Romba and Rute Fortuna, not only on a technical and professional level, as well as on a human level. It is from such set of competences, through collaboration and interdisciplinarity that we are able to produce and share new knowledge.’

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