The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt: An Archaeological Reconstruction

The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt: An Archaeological Reconstruction

by Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom


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Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom offers a new history of the field of Egyptian monastic archaeology. It is the first study in English to trace how scholars identified a space or site as monastic within the Egyptian landscape and how such identifications impacted perceptions of monasticism. Brooks Hedstrom then provides an ecohistory of Egypt's tripartite landscape to offer a reorientation of the perception of the physical landscape. She analyzes late-antique documentary evidence, early monastic literature, and ecclesiastical history before turning to the extensive archaeological evidence of Christian monastic settlements. In doing so, she illustrates the stark differences between idealized monastic landscape and the actual monastic landscape that was urbanized through monastic constructions. Drawing upon critical theories in landscape studies, materiality and phenomenology, Brooks Hedstrom looks at domestic settlements of non-monastic and monastic settlements to posit what features makes monastic settlements unique, thus offering a new history of monasticism in Egypt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107161818
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/23/2017
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 7.28(w) x 10.24(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom is Professor of History and Director of Archaeology at Wittenberg University, Ohio. A fellow in Byzantine Studies, her research on Byzantine monastic Egypt has earned her awards from the Fulbright Binational Commission in Egypt, the American Research Center in Egypt, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Project Grants in Byzantine Studies from Dumbarton Oaks and the Erasmus Institute. Her publications center on the archaeology and history of monastic settlements in the Byzantine Near East with a particular focus upon Egypt. She is currently the Senior Archaeological Consultant for the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project and former Director of Archaeology for the Yale Monastic Archaeology Projects in Wadi Natrun and in Sohag, Egypt.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Monastic archaeology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; 2. Archaeology and twentieth century perceptions of the monastic landscape; 3. An ecohistory of the Egyptian landscape; 4. Late antique documentary evidence and the monastic landscape; 5. Telling stories about the Egyptian monastic landscape; 6. The archaeology of late antique buildings in Egypt; 7. Looking at Egypt's monastic built environments; Conclusions.

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