An Archaeological Re-assessment of Forty-Seven Early Byzantine Basilical Church Excavations Primarily in Israel and Jordan, and their Historical and Liturgical Context
Chapter 7: Conclusion
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Research for this book was prompted by the observation that domestic artefacts were recovered from sealed destruction layers at two Early Byzantine church sites, i.e. the ‘cave church’ of Khirbet ed-Deir, and the ‘pilgrim church’ of the North Church in Rehovot-in-the-Negev. This appeared unusual because there were dining halls or refectories at each of the sites where one would instead expect to find these artefacts. What reason could there be for cooking pots, amphorae, flasks and jugs, plates and bowls to be found in these churches, and is this pattern repeated elsewhere in other similar churches? Could the presence of these domestic artefacts indicate that activities other than mere liturgy took place at these sites, i.e. that non-liturgical or paraliturgical activity took place in these churches? Furthermore, do they reflect institutional behaviour, i.e. are these patterns of deposition repeated across several church sites?
This research set out to investigate whether the deposition of domestic artefacts in sealed destruction layers at Early Byzantine basilical church sites is more commonplace among church sites in the Levant than has previously been assumed. To address this question the aim was first to compile a catalogue of church sites, and to limit these to the three most common basilical church plans, i.e. monoapsidal, inscribed apse, and triapsidal. Each church site would then be placed into one of these three groups to allow comparative analysis of repeated patterns of artefactual deposition between churches that shared...
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