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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter, organized in three sections, reviews and critiques the history of archaeological practice and interpretation pertaining to early Christian monastic sites. The first section introduces readers to the development of cultural-historical, processual, and post-processual approaches in modern archaeology. The second and third sections address methodological problems related to the identification and dating of monastic remains. Selected case studies from the first millennium ce are cited to illustrate how modern historians and archaeologists have often over-interpreted the evidence available to them. This chapter aims to sponsor scholarly awareness about the limits of our current state of knowledge and to establish a set of more reliable and consistent criteria for evaluating what constitutes material evidence for the study of early Christian monasticism.

Keywords: early Christian, archaeology, cultural history, processual approaches, post-processual approaches, material evidence, dating criteria

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