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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Churches have been the subject of archaeological examination since the sixteenth century. As the most monumental expression of Christianity, they represent complex religious and societal ideologies, rooted in Jewish concepts of the synagogue and messianic kingship. The institution of the church was initially viewed as both a physical local body and a global spiritual kingdom, and these notions eventually became symbolized by architecture. In Christianity’s first three centuries, a variety of buildings could accommodate Christian congregations. During the emperor Constantine’s reign, the basilica became the most prestigious form of church and, by the end of the seventh century, was commonplace in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. Churches were not just assemblages of various materials; they also housed burials, shrines, artifacts, and artistic programs. Archaeology examines how and when churches were designed, constructed, and changed, and how they contributed to the wider society.

Keywords: hypostyle, synagogue, basilica, relic, imperial architecture, liturgical furniture, emulation, masonry, ecclesiology, monumentality

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