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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 / Integration, communities & exclusion in Byzantine times through burials from Hierapolis of Phrygia (Türkiye)

Caroline Laforest (2022)

Integration, communities & exclusion in Byzantine times through burials from Hierapolis of Phrygia (Türkiye)

In: EAA Meeting.

During the last decade, several research programs have shed light on the funerary spaces from the Byzantine city of Hierapolis, located in the ancient province of Phrygia, southwest Turkey. The diversity of the investigated burials has been studied using interdisciplinary approaches, including bioarchaeology; this recent research has enabled us to compensate for the incomplete data from former excavations and address new issues. Topography, architectural types, reconstruction of perishable arrangements, grave management, and biological identity of the deceased have been jointly analyzed to identify four kinds of burial spaces in use during the 11th and 12th centuries CE. Our results indicate that each of these spaces was reserved for a specific social category: An enclosed cemetery surrounding a small church was the burial place of the general Christian population in Hierapolis, while much prestigious sites, such as the urban Cathedral and the St. Philip sanctuary, accommodated tombs of clergy and privileged inhabitants. By contrast, non-local Christians, namely identified pilgrims from western Europe, did not have access to burial in these community spaces, but were interred in reopened Roman chamber tombs situated not far from the aforementioned St Philip sanctuary. Finally our results indicate that people were excluded from the community in Hierapolis in death in the cases of tombs situated outside the cemetery walls, as well as three inhumations discovered in a waste and dumping ground. Together, our findings outline a Byzantine funerary landscape much more diversified than usually described and demonstrate community, social stratification, and separation of social groups within a medieval city.
Abstract of an Oral Presentation or a Poster
Anthropology, ARCHEO

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