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The Archaeology Of Pilgrimage: Abu Mina And Beyond

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Chapter Summary

Christian pilgrimage offers a unique insight into popular piety in Late Antiquity. This chapter moves beyond the sanctuary of St Menas and compares the evidence from Abu Mina with that from other major pilgrimage sites in the eastern Mediterranean. In the chapter there is no simple pattern in organisation or souvenir production that can be identified in the archaeology of late antique pilgrimage. It discusses pilgrimage to the shrines of particular saints, as opposed to the more general question of pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a complex environment in which the history of locations where Christ was present exists alongside the history of later Christian events and holy figures. For the purposes of the chapter, what is perhaps most striking is the sheer diversity of the surviving evidence, both literary and archaeological, which differs widely between each individual pilgrimage site.

Keywords: eastern Mediterranean; Holy Land; late antique pilgrimage; St Menas at Abu Mina



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