The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology brings together significant work by leading scholars of the archaeology of early Christianity in the Mediterranean and surrounding regions. The thirty-four contributions to this volume ground the history, culture, and society of the first seven centuries of Christianity in archaeological method, theory, and research. Collectively the essays emphasize the link between fieldwork, archaeological methods, and regional and national traditions in constructing our knowledge of the early Church, Christian communities, and the context of the ancient Mediterranean. An introductory essay provides historical and chronological perspectives on the archaeology of the early Christian world. This is followed by two chapters on the archaeology of the earliest Christ-followers and a series of topical treatments that focus on significant types of objects common to Christian contexts—ceramics, lamps, icons, and monuments—and contexts ranging from Christian churches to martyria, catacombs, and baths. Finally, the volume locates the archaeology of the early Christian world in a series of regional studies stretching from Britain to Persia. These regional studies situate the archaeology of early Christianity in historical contexts shaped by ancient geography and modern national archaeological traditions. The thorough, carefully researched, and fully referenced essays offer the most intensive, state-of-the-art treatment of recent research into the archaeology of early Christianity currently available.
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