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The Early Christian Archaeology of the Balkans

Bowden, William



William R. Caraher

Thomas W. Davis

David K. Pettegrew


Textual sources attest to the early spread of Christianity across the Balkan region, and archaeological evidence demonstrates how the new religion transformed the built environment and material culture of the area in Late Antiquity, although dating and analysis of these buildings have tended to focus on stylistic and typological approaches. Prior to the late fourth century archaeological evidence of Christianity is mainly found in funerary contexts, but in the fifth and sixth centuries the urban and rural landscapes were transformed by the construction of Christian architecture, including the monumentalization of martyrs’ graves at towns such as Salona and the creation of major episcopal centers at provincial capitals such as Stobi and Nicopolis. These churches were funded by multiple individuals, evidenced by inscriptions that reference ecclesiastical and lay donors of both sexes. The location and design of many of the churches also reflect the increasingly militarized nature of the Late Antique Balkans.


Bowden, W. (2019). The Early Christian Archaeology of the Balkans. In W. R. Caraher, T. W. Davis, & D. K. Pettegrew (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology (537-556). Oxford University Press.

Online Publication Date Jan 8, 2019
Publication Date 2019-02
Deposit Date Jul 15, 2016
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 537-556
Book Title The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology
ISBN 9780199369041
Public URL
Publisher URL