Archaeology And The Early Christian Church
Some definition of the period under study in this article is necessary because of the vast field. The Christian Church was born at Pentecost in the days of the Roman procurator [[Pontius Pilate]] (a.d. 26-36). The upper limit of the term “early” is presumably at the start of the medieval period. Discussion here is limited, therefore, to the period between the beginning of the second century and the first half of the seventh century. The archaeological evidence from the first century is normally covered by the archaeology of the NT. In Palestine the year 638 marks the time that Jerusalem fell to the Muslims. The Muslim conquest of the Middle East marked the end of an age, although in the West no such transition is recognized. In the interests of brevity this article shall examine the period c.100-650—i.e., to the later Roman and earlier Byzantine periods.