Damascus: Charcoal Burners

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: faḥḥām

The charcoal burner (faḥḥām) principally worked with branches of holm oak, gathered from the lands around Damascus. These were burned in a pit covered with earth or a layer of turf. The charcoal was loaded into sacks and sold for domestic and industrial use in Damascus. It was a profitable activity. See also: Woodcutter (kissār or kassār) and Wood gatherer (ḥaṭṭāb).

Citation: al-Qasimi, Muhammad Saʿid, Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, and Khalil al-ʿAzm (al-Azem), Dictionnaire des métiers damascains, ed., Zafer al-Qasimi. (Le Monde d’Outre-Mer passé et présent, Deuxième série, Documents III, Paris and Le Haye: Mouton and Co., 1960), p. 336 (chapter 257).

See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Wood and Woodworking in Late Ottoman Damascus: An Analysis of the Qāmūs al-Ṣināʿāt al-Shāmiyya”, Bulletin d’Etudes Orientales 61 (2012): p. 559.