Research Projects

The Research Centre supports the individual research of its members and has several of its own ongoing projects, mostly in collaboration with other organisations. For example, in collaboration with the Late Antiquity Research Group, the Research Group, the Research Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies has been involved in four research projects in the eastern Mediterranean Midgal Stonesregion:

Istanbul Rescue Archaeology Project

Investigating many sites across the whole west of this area, seven years of work produced much new archaeological information, with wide-ranging implications for the city and for the study of the Byzantine period in general. The overall distribution-patterns produced suggest the extent and nature of Byzantine activity in the western part of the city and permit new interpretations of this area as well as of specific sites within it. Discoveries include standing structures, cisterns and architectural fragments from buildings. Among the sites examined were those of the Blachernae palace and the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Nazareth Archaeological Project

This is the only international research project to use current archaeological techniques and theory to examine Roman and Byzantine Nazareth and its surrounding landscape. From 2006 the project focused on a large site in central Nazareth with very well-preserved Roman, Byzantine and Crusader structures, including the only surviving domestic structure of the Roman-period village, well-preserved burials of Roman date, and a large elaborately decorated Early Byzantine church with a cave-church, once decorated with mosaics, beneath it. This may well be the famous Church of the Nutrition.

Sea of Galilee Landscape Archaeology Project

The Sea of Galilee has been much studied from the standpoint of 'Biblical Archaeology', but little from a perspective of broader Roman and Byzantine archaeology, and that research has been centred on specific sites, usually those mentioned in the Gospels, with no attempt to investigate the wider landscape. This is the first 'landscape archaeology' project using current techniques to examine the area surrounding the 'Sea of Galilee', focusing (within a multi-period context' on the Sea of GalileeRoman-period and Byzantine periods. The core research questions are the scale and distribution of coastal Roman-period fishing, their relationship to neighbouring agricultural communities, and the consequences of Byzantine-period Christina pilgrimage for wealth generation and distribution. The project overall involves analytical work in the UK (using published sources, the Israel Antiquities Authority archive and aerial - and satellite - image) and a new survey of the western shore of the 'Sea'.

The Hagia Sophia Project, Istanbul

The sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia has received more attention than any other building in Istanbul, was the largest pre-Renaissance church building, and is probably the most famous Byzantine structure in the world. But the remains of the Orthodox Patriarchal palace next to it have largely escape identification. This project began in 2004 by recording the unpublished Patriarchal structures and the few previously unstudied parts pf the church and its surroundings. The project has progressed to study the whole of the present museum area, and has led to the discovery of substantial parts of the sixth-century Patriarchate, a previously unrecognised porch of the Justinianic church building itself (rendering all previous plans and reconstructions of the building incorrect) and new mosaics and frescos within and around the church.

Developing research projects

We are constantly developing new fieldwork and museum-based studies and welcome new opportunities for collaborative projects with other scholars and institutions. We are especially keen to build research links with universities and museums outside of the UK.

Those interested should contact the Research Centre Director, Ken Dark , in the first instance, at as early a stage in the development of research proposals as possible. Please note that the Research Centre is unable to fund research projects wholly from its own resources and so applications for collaborative research should be accompanied by existing or potential funding.

 

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