The Making of a Byzantine Monastic Landscape

A Case Study from the Mazi Plain in Northwest Attica, Greece


  • Fotini Kondyli University of Virginia
  • Sarah Craft Florida State University



Byzantine, monastery, Central Greece, sacred landscape, survey archaeology


In this study, we present some results from the Mazi Archaeological Project (MAP), a diachronic regional survey in northwest Attica, Greece. We focus our discussion on the presence of the Middle Byzantine Monastery of Hosios Meletios and its relationship to local communities as well as to the surrounding natural and built environment. In doing so, we focus on three main strategies employed by the monastery: (1) large-scale building projects, (2) the redirection of movement in the area and (3) the exploitation of the natural environment and its economic resources. We also pay attention to the establishment of the paralavria (monastic dependencies) as a fundamental mechanism employed by the monastery to map its presence and influence and connect it to other sites of economic and religious importance in the region. We argue that the spatial, material and symbolic connections between the paralavria, the main monastery and key natural features in the area created a visually, spiritually and economically coherent and distinct monastic landscape.

Author Biographies

  • Fotini Kondyli, University of Virginia

    Fotini Kondyli (Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, University of Virginia) is a Byzantine archaeologist who works on the Late Antique, Byzantine and Frankish periods. Her research interests include Byzantine spatial practices, communal identity and the material culture of Byzantine non-elites. She also works on cultural, economic and political networks in the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Byzantine period (thirteenth to fifteenth centuries ad). Her work brings together archaeology, archival research, spatial analysis and the digital humanities.

  • Sarah Craft, Florida State University

    Sarah Craft (Courtesy Appointment in Classics, Florida State University) works on the landscape history of the Late and Post-Roman imperial provinces in the eastern Mediterranean and southeastern Europe. Her research focuses on devotional landscapes and the infrastructure and impact of movement, integrating evidence drawn from archaeology, epigraphy and hagiography to visualize and explore the dynamic relationship between the material realities of travel and sacred spaces.


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How to Cite

Kondyli, F., & Craft, S. (2021). The Making of a Byzantine Monastic Landscape: A Case Study from the Mazi Plain in Northwest Attica, Greece. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 33(2), 135-159.