Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, March 2023

The Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies is approaching – the meeting will be held between 17 and 19 March at Corpus Christi College & All Souls College, Oxford. This year's edition is focused on material religion in Byzantium and beyond, and will explore various methods for the study of day-to-day religious activities, emphasizing studies on small objects and digital instruments of research.

On Saturday, 18 March, Pawel will present our project and give a talk “At the mines they built places of worship.” Material Evidence for Religious Activities at Quarries and Mines in late antique Asia Minor. In his paper, he will discuss the issue of documenting religious graffiti and rock inscriptions made by late antique stonecutters and miners.

Abstract: In my communication, I will present new finds of a survey conducted as part of the project Marmora Asiatica (NCN 2012/07/E/HS3/03971) in the quarries of Prokonnesos. These encompass religious graffiti – crosses and orant figures of different quality – inside an unfinished sarcophagus, abandoned in one of the quarries in the north-eastern part of the island. The shapes of the graffiti find parallels at other centres of extraction of marble (Dokimeion, Göktepe, etc.), and can be products of workers or, perhaps, monks who later resettled abandoned quarries. An overview of these finds is also a prolegomenon to a wider study of religious activities and their material traces at complexes such as quarries and workshops dressing the stone, which will be one of the research strands of the STONE-MASTERS project, a newly established, ERC-funded project (ERS SG 101040152), exploring the role of stonecutters and mosaicists as agents of cultural transfer.