Dura-Europos and Gerasa Archives (Yale University)

Yale University

Of Barsabbathas to Heliodoros; from a soldier at Antioch to a centurion at Dura; military and personal matters | Language: Greek | Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

The Yale University Art Gallery has collaborated with Artstor to make more than 18,300 images related to the ancient sites of Dura-Europos in Syria and Gerasa (modern Jerash) in Jordan available in the Digital Library. The collection in Artstor consists of images from the Gallery's extensive photographic archives, which provide historical documentation of both expeditions and the artifacts and structures unearthed during the excavations, as well as images from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library's extraordinary Yale Papyrus Collection of papyri also excavated at Dura-Europos.

From 1928 to 1937, Yale University sponsored excavations at Dura-Europos, Syria, in conjunction with the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. Located on the Euphrates River, the city of Dura-Europos was founded during the Hellenistic period (ca. 300 BCE), eventually being absorbed into the Arsacid Parthian Empire during the 1st century BCE. Known to local people as Dura (or, "the fortress"), the city also passed through Roman rule before being destroyed by the Sassanian Persians around 256 CE. The Gallery's archive documents both the Greco-Roman and Parthian cultures at Dura-Europos and includes images of the art, architecture, and everyday objects from the daily lives of the inhabitants of the city.

During roughly the same period, from 1928 to 1934, Yale University jointly sponsored excavations at Gerasa, Jordan, with the British School of Archaeology at Jerusalem. Like Dura-Europos, Gerasa was also founded during the Hellenistic period and is located approximately 48 km north of Amman, Jordan. In 90 CE, Gerasa became part of the Roman province of Arabia, and a period of great prosperity and growth began. In the late 1st and 2nd centuries CE, the urban landscape of the city was transformed through the construction of colonnaded streets and monumental architecture such as temples, theaters, and open public spaces. Under Byzantine rule (ca. 400-600 CE), many Christian churches—and even a Jewish synagogue—were built throughout the city; these were often adorned with mosaic decoration. The Gerasa archive at the Gallery contains photographic documentation of the architectural remains and mosaics of these buildings, other finds such as glass vessels, pottery, and lamps, and plans and drawings from the Yale excavation.

The Yale University Art Gallery, America's oldest and one of its most important university art museums, opened to the public in 1832. Its permanent collection includes more than 185,000 works, divided among eleven curatorial departments: African Art, American Decorative Arts, American Paintings and Sculpture, Ancient Art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Asian Art, Coins and Medals, Early European Art, Indo-Pacific Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.

Opened in 1963, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is Yale University's principal repository for rare books and literary manuscripts, and is one of the largest such libraries in the world. Its collections afford study in the fields of literature, theology, history, and the natural sciences, from the ancient to the modern world.