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The Long Seventh Century

Continuity and Discontinuity in an Age of Transition

Edited By Alessandro Gnasso, Emanuele E. Intagliata and Thomas J. MacMaster

This volume represents a selection of papers presented at the 2013 Edinburgh Seventh Century Colloquium, showcasing the latest scholarship from a rising generation of academics. The volume traverses the globe from Iran to the Atlantic and from Sweden to the Sahara and ranges from the establishment of the early Islamic state to the beginnings of English Christianity. Topics include the transmission of high culture across time, settlement patterns in a rapidly changing world and the formation of new and emerging identities. The essays also bring into dialogue a wide range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including archaeology, literature, history, art, papyrology and economics. Together, they generate valuable new insights into the still uncharted territories of the long seventh century.
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From Early Byzantium to the Middle Ages at Sagalassos


Sagalassos was a wealthy, medium-sized town and a pottery production centre located in the western Taurus Mountains, at ca. 1,500 m above sea level, about 100 km north of the southern coast of Turkey (figure 1). Since 1990, a multi-disciplinary research team directed by Marc Waelkens (KU Leuven) has been carrying out systematic excavations especially in the town centre and the eastern suburbia, intensive urban survey of the remainder of the 90 hectares large urban area and extensive rural surveys in the territory, covering an area of 1,800 km2. During recent campaigns, a considerable amount of evidence related to the timespan after AD 525/550 has been discovered both in new excavation trenches and by a re-evaluation of pottery chronologies. The drastic changes occurring after the middle of the sixth century left permanent imprints in the archaeological record, providing ← 163 | 164 → us with detailed and privileged insights into the last phases of large-scale occupation. At the beginning of our overview, the city first lived its final heyday with many building activities datable to the first and especially the second quarter of the sixth century. Conversely, in the second half of the century, signs of stress started to appear. Then, probably slightly after the year AD 610, Sagalassos was hit by a major earthquake. In contrast to what has long been thought, this did not end occupation at all. Even though the material culture assigned with certainty to this period is still scanty because it had little or...

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