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Tracing the Donatist presence in North Africa : an archaeological perspective.

Leone, Anna (2016) 'Tracing the Donatist presence in North Africa : an archaeological perspective.', in The Donatist schism : controversy and contexts. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 317-344. Translated texts for historians. Contexts. (2).


Donatism has long been the subject of debates that focus primarily on the nature of the movement, its importance, its role (as representative of the ‘African Church’), its relationship with the Catholic tradition, and its connection to the Patristic Authors. As often happens in studies on North Africa, the research has been driven by the large amount of rich textual evidence, with little attention paid to the material culture of Donatism and its archaeological traces. The cause for this lack of interest is justifiable as researching the presence of Donatism archaeologically has proved to be very difficult and rarely able to go beyond speculation. There are two distinct reasons to blame: on the one hand, the very nature of Donatism makes its buildings indistinguishable from Catholic ones; on the other hand, even if there was a distinction, the re-appropriation of these buildings by the Catholic Church has nearly eradicated any remaining evidence. In the past a few non-systematic attempts at interpreting the ‘archaeology of Donatism’ were made, with most finding conclusions difficult to draw.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:© 2016 Liverpool University Press
Date accepted:21 November 2016
Date deposited:23 November 2016
Date of first online publication:July 2016
Date first made open access:01 July 2018

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