“The Architecture of Christian Communities in the Holy Land and Palestine after the 6th Century”
Bert and Sally de Vries Fellowship, 2021–2022
Aristotle University, Thessaloniki (Greece)
History and Archaeology
Sofia Thatharopoulou is a PhD candidate in Byzantine archaeology in the Department of History and Archaeology of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and archaeology and a master’s degree in Byzantine archaeology from the same department. She also earned a master’s degree in comparative and international education from Stockholm University, where she concentrated on museum education in public Swedish museums. She has further participated in excavations of Aristotle University on the island of Mochlos (Crete) and at Philippi and Dion in Greece. The archaeology of the Near East during the Byzantine and early Islamic periods has interested her since she was working toward her master’s degree and visited Israel to document cases for her thesis on the Byzantine-Arab transition in cities of Palestine.
Currently, she is working on her dissertation, “The Architecture of Christian Communities in the Holy Land and Palestine after the 6th Century,” in which she examines public Christian buildings founded and/or repaired after the 6th century AD in Byzantine Palestine and Arabia. Reviewing buildings dated to the period studied, as well as secondary building phases in earlier cases, Thatharopoulou aspires to re-examine Christian architecture of the early Islamic period and shed light on the life of Christian populations during the first three centuries of Arab rule. Through the Bert and Sally de Vries Fellowship, she plans to visit a number of sites in Jordan in order to examine and document buildings dated to this period and add original photographic material to her dissertation.