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The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt
An Archaeological Reconstruction

$29.99 (F)

  • Date Published: November 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316614082

$ 29.99 (F)

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Provides both artifactual and textual evidence that works in tandem to challenge the older narrative of monasticism as isolationist and spartan
    • Introduces readers less familiar with archaeology to the physical evidence for monasticism in Egypt, and will have a broad appeal to those interested in monasticism (East, West, and Buddhist monasticism)
    • Illustrates the benefits of applying new theoretical models to reading the built environment and Egyptian monastic landscape
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this fascinating contribution to the emerging field of monastic archaeology, Brooks Hedstrom provides a convincing new reconstruction of the monastic landscape of late antique Egypt. She continues by documenting how expanded excavations in recent years and new theoretical approaches to landscape emerging from critical theory clearly call these old ideas into question. After presenting a model of the overall Egyptian landscape based on these new perspectives from critical theory, the author progressively builds her reconstruction of the Egyptian monastic landscape through analyses of documentary sources, early monastic devotional literature, and the results of recent excavations. This well-written, well-illustrated, theoretically sophisticated, and comprehensively documented volume is destined to become required reading for advanced students and scholars of monastic archaeology in Egypt and beyond.' Choice

    'Brooks Hedstrom’s reorientation of the study of Egyptian monasticism has much in common with those who have looked to documentary papyri as a crucial counterweight to the elite monastic literary record. She is pleased to acknowledge that common ground. But her sophisticated attention to monastic spaces, both the natural and built environments in which the monks moved, makes this learned study truly unique, and a significant contribution to the field.' Charles Stang, Journal of Early Christian Studies

    ‘Brooks Hedstrom's work is a compelling assessment that displays the diversity of monastic spaces in Egypt and undermines previous pictures that relied on simple narratives, derived from the literary material, of a divide between anchorite and organized monasticism in terms of their built spaces.’ Gareth Sears, Medieval Archaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316614082
    • length: 454 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.855kg
    • contains: 78 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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

  • Author

    Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom, Wittenberg University, Ohio
    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.

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