The church of Santa Comba de Bande in north-west Spain has long been considered a model for regional Late Antique and early medieval architecture. Controversy, however, has recently emerged concerning its construction date. Is it a ‘Visigothic’ (seventh century) or ‘Mozarabic’ (ninth to tenth centuries) church? The combination of stratigraphic data with absolute dating methods has now provided a date of AD 751–789 for construction of the church. This result has historical and architectural implications: Santa Comba de Bande represents an extremely early example of Mozarabic architecture, and demonstrates the dynamic circulation of influences between the Islamic south and Christian north in eighth-century Iberia.
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