chapter  8
Antioch: from Byzantium to Islam and back again
Pages 5

There are, fundamentally, two different ways of identifying and approaching a historical problem. The first is to find an interesting or even unique piece of evidence and use it to illuminate the surrounding landscape. Typical of such an approach is the evidence provided by the deserted villages of the limestone hills of northern Syria; because the archaeological evidence is so rich and varied, the late antique economy of this small area has become the subject of continuing interest and serious debate (Tchalenko 1953-8; Tate and Sodini 1980; Kennedy 1985a, 157-62; Liebeschuetz and Kennedy 1989). If this unique evidence had not existed, it is hardly likely that the rural economy of this area would have received more than the barest mention.