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Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Fourth to Eleventh Century: Archaeological Research and Urban Context

Gideon Avni, Israel Antiquities Authority and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Fellow 2017–2018

I used my fellowship for a comprehensive evaluation of the architectural history of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Byzantine and early Islamic Jerusalem. I conducted research in three concentric levels: the publication of the recent surveys and excavations at the church and surroundings, the incorporation of data from these excavations into a wider view of the development and architectural changes in the Constantinian church between the fourth and eleventh centuries, and the significance of the church as a major Christian site and pilgrimage destination within the development of Jerusalem under Byzantine and Islamic rule. Using the library’s invaluable resources, I extended the study of the church into conceptual research on the contiguity between different religious centers in a single urban context, examining the impact of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Haram al-Sharif on the creation of new urban zoning in Jerusalem. The comprehensive picture provided by archaeological and textual evidence enables the synchronic and diachronic reconstruction of urban changes in Jerusalem, in comparison to other cities in Syria-Palestine in the Byzantine and early Islamic periods.