Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity is a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council.
The aim of the project is to explore the Georgian belief that monasticism was brought to the country by the "Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers" in the sixth century. As there is no textual evidence still extant from this early period, the project is evaluating the surviving material culture in both countries in order to identify any common movements in architecture and art, as well as to study the ecclesiastical history of both countries in order to pinpoint similarities in liturgy, pilgrimage or any other area of historical ritual practice. It is hoped that data from further afield will be contributed in the future, but the parameters of the current project (which will run until November 2017) encompass the modern countries of Georgia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
The outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 has meant that no new field work can be undertaken for this project in that country, but this has been largely overcome by making use of a large archive of site images taken by the principal investigator in Syria from 1997 until 2010. Therefore this resource also incorporates material from earlier research, including data from two archaeological excavations. We are aware that the ongoing looting and destruction of Syrian archaeological sites places a moral duty on academics to make available their unpublished material to the wider research community in order to create a common resource for those seeking to safeguard Syrian Cultural Heritage. This web resource is intended as a contribution to this process.
Much of this information is being made available to the public for the first time. We have endeavoured to publish as many papers written by team members as possible, but where prevented by copyright restrictions from including articles and monographs we have added links to the websites where there are abstracts and purchase details of these items.
Please look at the Contact Us section if you have any comments or suggestions for the improvement of this resource. This site is still evolving and we hope that it will ultimately become a valuable repository for the Late Antique and Early Medieval material culture of the Levant, Asia Minor and Caucasus regions.
Reproduction of a censer from the Monastery of Mar Musa al-Habashi in Syria that is now in the British Museum.