Presentation Title

P-03 Archaeological Evidence for the Role of Women in Early Christianity

Presenter Information

Carina PrestesFollow

Presenter Status

PhD in Archaeology, Student

Preferred Session

Poster Session

Start Date

26-10-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

26-10-2018 3:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

The primary focus of my research is Christian women in the Greek speaking areas of the West, namely, Magna Graecia - South Italy, Sicily, and the other southern Italian islands. The Andrews team found at least three women buried inside a fourth-century Christian basilica in San Miceli, Sicily, Italy. Until the present, the discussion around women’s participation and role in the early Christian church has focused mostly on ancient epigraphic and literary evidence. However, archaeology combined with social sciences and iconography have the potential to feed the wealth of knowledge and if considered together with literary sources, they have an even greater potential.

So, I analyze the following aspects: (1) archaeological data of specific sites (house churches, earliest Christian basilicas—especially funerary basilicas, catacombs, Christian cemeteries, and demographic data on early Christian communities—such as San Miceli that can be derived from settlements and burial areas); (2) iconographical data (as depicted in mosaics, frescos, graffiti, gravestones, relics, etc.); (3) ancient literary evidence in order to ascertain what conclusions emerge from it; and (4) social sciences.

The picture that emerged from the research is that the participation of women was far greater then traditionally stated and at the same time, it was greatly suppressed by male religious leaders. The female role was frequently one of authority and leadership in Early Christianity.

Acknowledgments

Graduate Grant in Aid of Research, Office of Research and Creative Scholarship

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Oct 26th, 2:00 PM Oct 26th, 3:00 PM

P-03 Archaeological Evidence for the Role of Women in Early Christianity

The primary focus of my research is Christian women in the Greek speaking areas of the West, namely, Magna Graecia - South Italy, Sicily, and the other southern Italian islands. The Andrews team found at least three women buried inside a fourth-century Christian basilica in San Miceli, Sicily, Italy. Until the present, the discussion around women’s participation and role in the early Christian church has focused mostly on ancient epigraphic and literary evidence. However, archaeology combined with social sciences and iconography have the potential to feed the wealth of knowledge and if considered together with literary sources, they have an even greater potential.

So, I analyze the following aspects: (1) archaeological data of specific sites (house churches, earliest Christian basilicas—especially funerary basilicas, catacombs, Christian cemeteries, and demographic data on early Christian communities—such as San Miceli that can be derived from settlements and burial areas); (2) iconographical data (as depicted in mosaics, frescos, graffiti, gravestones, relics, etc.); (3) ancient literary evidence in order to ascertain what conclusions emerge from it; and (4) social sciences.

The picture that emerged from the research is that the participation of women was far greater then traditionally stated and at the same time, it was greatly suppressed by male religious leaders. The female role was frequently one of authority and leadership in Early Christianity.