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From Kastron to Qaṣr: Nessana between Byzantium and the Umayyad Caliphate ca. 602–689. Demographic and Microeconomic Aspects of Palaestina III in Interregional Perspective

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Chapter Summary

Nessana was a kastron or fortress town of Palaestina III in the Negev desert. The Byzantine settlement consisted of two churches, the North Church and South Church, and a central space for horses and civilian refugees. Nessana gives the impression of having been militarily disarmed by the time of the Muslim conquest. This chapter brings the Nessana papyri into the world of "events" which, if transitory, lie implicitly in the documents. The Nessana papyri provide clear corroboration for quantities of Late Roman gold and bronze coinage in Palaestina III ca. 600. A miracle tale gives some idea of the interregional links between the monastery of Mount Sinai and Palestine, as well as the economic disruption during one of the invasions in 7th century. The schematic representation of series of inscriptions, coins and ceramic types for tracing continuity and change in Palaestina III remains a desideratum for the present.

Keywords: Byzantine settlement; Byzantium; Negev desert; Nessana; Palaestina III; Umayyad Caliphate



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