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History Colloquium: Darrell Rohl, Paganism, Christianity, and Islam: Religion and Society at Umm al-Jimal, AD 100–800

For 50 years, Calvin University has been leading archaeological work at the site of Umm al-Jimal in Jordan, the best-preserved Byzantine period town in the region. Featuring the ruins of more than 150 houses, two Roman forts, a pagan temple, 16 early Christian churches, and at least two early Islamic mosques, Umm al-Jimal offers unique insights into daily life in the classical and late antique Middle East. Of particular interest is the relationship between religion and social organization, and how the community of Umm al-Jimal changed over time: from pre-Christian paganism to a dominant Christianity and beyond the introduction of Islam. Darrell Rohl, Calvin history professor and archaeology program director, provides an update on fieldwork and interpretation at Umm al-Jimal, including current insights and research questions, as well as ongoing efforts to make Umm al-Jimal Jordan’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opportunities for student and wider Calvin community participation will be discussed.

About the Speaker

Darrell Rohl is assistant professor of history and director of the archaeology program at Calvin University and co-director of two archaeological fieldwork projects in Jordan: the Hisban North Church Project and the Umm el-Jimal ProjectThe current focus of fieldwork at these sites is the relationship between local populations and religious practices and institutions across two key transition periods: from the Late Roman to Byzantine and from Byzantine to Early Islamic.

This talk is part of history colloquia series. These lectures are open to the Calvin community - students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends - and all are warmly welcome to attend. Guests are kindly reminded to follow Calvin's covid-19 safety protocols, which at this time includes wearing masks at all times in indoor public spaces.


November 2021
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