Cecelia Chisdock

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10410

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Chisdock, Cecelia (Notre Dame, U. of) "The Impacts of Monastic Services on Juvenile Stress in the Byzantine Levant"

CECELIA CHISDOCK, then a graduate student at University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, received funding in October 2022 to aid research on “The Impacts of Monastic Services on Juvenile Stress in the Byzantine Levant,” supervised by Dr. Susan Guise Sheridan. How juveniles are cared for varies, and in the Byzantine period it included welfare services provided by monasteries, distantly related to modern hospitals and orphanages. This dissertation compares juvenile skeletal remains from three sites in the Byzantine Levant (4th-7th c. CE), two monasteries and one townsite, to investigate whether these services impacted juvenile health. It analyzed age-at-death, skeletal stress indicators, and characteristics of care. To better interpret the context of care, the grantee expands bioarchaeological models of childcare to include culturally specific concepts of childhood, healing, and benevolence. The Dissertation Fieldwork Grant supported analysis of the Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata monastic collection. The high level of stress found, compared to the low levels of the other monastery (St. Stephen’s) indicates that the type of care offered by monasteries differed and Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata may have been a healing destination for individuals experiencing more prolonged illness. This supports a complex interpretation of care networks and the sequence of healthcare choices made by individuals. Further, the grant supported my participation in excavating Umm al-Jimal’s West Church yard, which strengthened my understanding of the relationship between the townsite, its cemeteries, and its churches which will refine this interpretation of the data from this non-monastic site.