About the lecture

The Inhabiting Byzantine Athens project seeks to reconstruct the topography and spatial layout of the city, alongside the living conditions and activities of its inhabitants, spanning from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries AD. This talk sheds light on the lives and experiences of ordinary people in Byzantine Athens, exploring how they interacted, organized their built environment, and contributed to the city’s infrastructure and management. Central to this discussion is the examination of the biographies of their homes and neighborhoods, tracking changes in architecture, spatial layout, and usage patterns over time. Moreover, this talk illustrates how archival material can be used to reconstruct past urban experiences and built environments that no longer survive. Relying on the legacy data from the Athenian Agora Excavations, the project's focus lies on restudying and publishing this material to offer fresh insights into Byzantine spatial, political, and social practices. Ultimately, it aims to enrich broader conversations on premodern urban phenomena, including urban design, recycling, water and waste management, and community building.

About the speaker

Foteini Kondyli (Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, University of Virginia) specializes in the archaeology of the Late Antique, Byzantine, and Frankish periods. Her research interests include the construction of Byzantine spaces, communal identity, landscape and household archaeology, and the material culture of Byzantine non-elites. Additionally, she focuses on cultural and economic networks in the medieval Mediterranean, particularly related to ceramic production and distribution. Her work brings together archaeology, archival research, spatial analysis, and the digital humanities. She is the author of Rural Communities in Late Byzantium, Resilience and Vulnerability in the Northern Aegean (2022) and co-editor of The Byzantine Neighbourhood. Urban Space and Political Action (2022). As an active field archaeologist, Kondyli has conducted extensive work in numerous archaeological sites across Greece, Turkey, Albania, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Currently, her research project, Inhabiting Byzantine Athens utilizes legacy data from the Athenian Agora Excavations to reconstruct socioeconomic activities, spaces, and urban experience in Byzantine Athens. This project aims to explore issues related to Byzantine city-making processes and the significant role of non-elites as city-makers.