Banner Konstantinsbogen
Rom, Konstantinsbogen (2010)

Christian archaeology and Byzantine art history

Christian archaeology and Byzantine art history is a field of study that emerged in the modern period and today explores extensively the time of early Christianity in its material remains, i.e. under the influence of profane and non-Christian religious monuments of late antiquity.
Geographically the discipline turns towards all areas of the Roman Empire and the further neighbouring areas. Historical phenomena like the Arab's storm (7./8. c.) or at the latest the beginning of the Romanesque period (10. c.) in the west terminate the period of investigation; only in the Byzantine territory evidence up to the end of the Eastern Roman Empire (1453) is naturally factored into the study.
The field of Christian archaeology has a precarious and rich in chance mediatory role between classical archaeology, Provincial-Roman archaeology, pre- and early history, art history, theology (esp. ecclesiastical history) and Byzantine studies. With its adjacent disciplines it shares mission (capturing and protecting monuments, illustrating and explaining history, steadying cultural awareness), methods (development, documentation, architectural analysis, iconography, style criticism) and division in genres (architecture, painting, sculpture etc.), whereas Christian archaeology also incorporates non-artistic remnants, especially inscriptions, sepulchral and housing complexes, industrial plants and also artisanal crafted artifacts.