Crone is nor skeptic nor revisionist.
Crone was a skeptic and a revisionist, but certainly a skeptic. Denying that is, with all due respect, ludicrous and a sign of polemics.
I do not "believe" in things. There is no evidence for a pre-Islamic Mecca, simple as that. There is evidence that the area was inhabited but nothing like a huge settlement. The stories about Mecca in Islamic source are clearly a-historical. If evidence of Mecca appears I will accept it, and then only its existence not the stories about it. Until then all we have are a collection of stories that also include flying donkeys and space elevators. We are not at liberty to edit these myths to make them 'factual'. They are entirely mythological, the Pegasus is just as mythological as Mohammad destroying idols in the Kaabah. One is not more likely because it does not include magical beasts.
We all believe in things. Anyways, no need to get caught up in semantics. I think we can all agree that there probably was no large settlement in Western Arabia. However, would say there is no seventh century evidence for Mecca too? Or would you only say that there is no pre-Islamic attestations of the city? There is, in my opinion, a crucial difference between the two propositions. Even Sean Anthony concedes the latter point. As for the pre-Islamic attestation, Ptolemy mentions a certain Moka
(Græcification of Makkah
) somewhere in Arabia Petraea
(Claudius Ptolemæus, The Geography by Claudius Ptolemy, Greek Geographer of the 2nd Century A.D., Book 5: Asia Minor, the Armenian Highlands, the Caucasus, Cyprus, Syria, Palestina, Arabia Petraea, Mesopotamia, Arabia Deserta, Babylonia
, trans. Edward L. Stevenson, New York, p. 129). Crone also argued for this based on additional corroborations (see: Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam
, Princeton, 136, 137, and esp. 196–198). For several seventh century historical attestations for Ḥajj and the Kaʿbah, please see Sean W. Anthony (via Twitter: https://bit.ly/2PQ3YcV
). He will publish his results in two years or so.
A friend of mine recently alerted to several epigraphic findings attesting the exodus from Mecca and Medina. If I receive further details I will share them with you.
Furthermore, it is clear that he buys the Mecca Medina story.
Here you also mention Medina. What part of the Medina story is in your opinion a-historical? It's existence? Further clarification is appreciated and sources as well.