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Porphyry Sarcophagi and the Material Language of Byzantium

Kelsey Eldridge, Harvard University, William R. Tyler Fellow 2019–2021

This year was the second and final year of my Tyler Fellowship. Although I was not able to travel or spend time in a library I still made good progress on my dissertation. I benefited greatly from the digital resources available through the Dumbarton Oaks library, and in some cases I even had access to books that were previously unavailable to me. The ability to have instant access to thousands of digitized books through the library’s subscriptions has been a silver lining to this entire situation. I had originally planned to spend this year in Rome and Florence doing site visits and research for my dissertation. However, I had to drastically change my plan and the original scope of my project. In spite of these hurdles, I was able to make progress as a result of my fellowship. I had the time and flexibility to think creatively, read widely, and approach my topic in a different way. Even in the remote format of the fellowship I benefited from the community of fellows; the weekly Zoom meetings with the Byzantine Studies fellows were a highlight of the year.