Research projects

Double portrait of Theodorus Comnenus
Ducas Syndenus, son of the foundress,
and his wife Eudocia Ducaena Comnena
Synadena Palaiologina. From the Typikon
of the Monastery of Our Lady of Good
Hope (Lincoln College Typikon; Lincoln
College,  Ms. Gr. 35, fol. 8r) (By permission
of the Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford)

Transformation in Byzantium – the 11th C

A major research project is currently underway in Oxford looking at Literature, Law and History in the Byzantine Empire in the 11th Century. Generously funded by a grant from the British Academy, the project will run over the course of 2010-12. In the summer term, the first workshop is taking place focusing on Legal Texts in Byzantium; in the autumn, there will be colloquium dealing with letter writing in this period, including the correspondence of Michael Psellos, John Mauropous and others.

Further information (PDFs):

Byzantine Medical Manuals:
Construction and Use

Professor Peregrine Horden, Dr Barbara Zipser

The project is a study in Byzantine medical texts. The Byzantine empire had a vigorous and long-lived medical culture that deserves study in its own right, not just because it was the conduit of ancient medicine to medieval Islam and Europe. Yet very little is known about it. Just a fraction of the over 2,000 Greek medical manuscripts that survive have been properly catalogued and analysed, and this is partly because of their chaotic appearance. However, since they were mostly texts intended to be used, there must have been some principles of construction that would enable the reader to find what he required. The project will seek to uncover those patterns of organisation and show how the texts could have been deployed in a variety of historical settings, educational and therapeutic.

Last Statues of Antiquity

Professor Bert Smith and Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins

The Last Statues of Antiquity’ project will produce an on-line searchable catalogue of all the evidence for new honorific statuary in Late Antiquity, as well as a print volume that discusses continuities and change within the well-established Roman habit of erecting statues to political masters and benefactors. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project will run for three years, starting in January 2009.

Androna (Andarin), Syria – Excavations and Survey

Marlia Mango, director Oxford team

A collaborative project of excavation and survey of the large desert settlement of Androna began in 1997. Androna is recorded as a late Roman mansio on one of the routes from Palmyra to Antioch, and as a Byzantine kome known for its wine. The site has the remains of 12 identified churches, at least two massive extramural reservoirs, and over 50 Greek inscriptions. Settlement continued into the Umayyad period. The team from Oxford concentrating on water usage, has excavated a sixth-century public bath building at the centre of the site and the reservoirs. It has also conducted a landscape study within Androna’s territory – exploring the area’s agricultural potential, identifying ancient nearby rural settlements, and investigating Androna’s remarkable water management structures which include six qanat networks, bringing water underground over long distances.

For further details, see:

Tchalenko Archive Project

Marlia Mango

The Georges Tchalenko Archive, housed in Oxford’s Institute of Archaeology, contains the working notes and papers, drawings, maps, and up to 20,000 photographs used by Georges Tchalenko who worked for over 40 years on the exceptionally well-preserved late Roman / early Byzantine settlements and architecture of northern Syria. The project, which is on-going, is digitizing and assembling on a database this remarkable research-resource, in order to make it available to the scholarly world.

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