National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom

Affiliation: Brandeis University

Darlene Brooks Hedstrom is the Myra and Robert Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Chair Associate Professor of Christian Studies at Brandeis University. As a joint appointment in the Departments of Classical Studies and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brooks Hedstrom is an  archaeologist and historian of late ancient and early Byzantine Christianity of the eastern Mediterranean world (circa 300-1000 CE).  Her work combines texts, material culture, and theory for examining late antique domestic space, including cooking areas, storage, and sleeping areas. She is an expert in the archaeology of monasticism in Egypt, the focus of her award-winning book The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt: An Archaeological Reconstruction (Cambridge 2017). She is the Senior Archaeological Consultant for the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project.


This lecture looks at the common activity of cooking and baking to consider how men in monastic communities regulated their day with cooking and baking. Egypt is particularly unique in having the best-preserved remains of Christian monastic remains in the entire Middle East. The settlements document the lives of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East and a history of Christian settlement rarely studied and visited by tourists. The sites reveal a hidden history of a population currently under threat and in need of attention to show how rich Egypt’s history is, in addition to the well-known pharaonic past.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Brooks Hedstrom, Darlene. The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt: An Archaeological Reconstruction — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

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