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The Mani Peninsula is home to hundreds of Orthodox Christian churches that were built within the last millennium. As in other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean countryside, the topological relationship between churches and settlements is a critical factor in understanding the significance of the sacred landscape. Many churches are situated in the central part of a village or on its very edge, but others – what are referred to as “outlying churches” or exokklisia – are built at great distances away. In this paper, we make the first attempt to assess the spatial relationship between the spaces where people worshipped (the churches) and the spaces where they lived (the settlements) at a regional scale, focused specifically on the Middle Byzantine period and later (mid-9th century CE to the present day). Comparing these patterns across the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern periods allows us to frame Mani’s sacred infrastructure within a changing, diachronic perspective. The results point to a change in the topological relationship between church and settlement that is best described as the “nucleation of the sacred landscape.”
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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (750483), National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (BCS-1346694), ArchaeoLandscapes Europe, University of Illinois at Chicago, The Field Museum, DigitalGlobe Foundation, and Ktimatologio National Cadastre and Mapping Agency, SA
Seifried, Rebecca M. and Kalaycı, Tuna, "An Exploratory Spatial Analysis of the Churches in the Southern Mani Peninsula, Greece" (2019). Open Archaeology. 83.