I have completed work on the largest block of churches in the data set — those from the northern part of Arabia. When I began the work, I had identified fifty five churches. I have decided to use only forty four. The main reason for the reduction is because I am now using a 100 km circle from Hippos to identify the dataset. Thus, I have dropped the many churches at Madaba and around Mt. Nebo.
Unique to the dataset from northern Arabia is the frequent clustering of multiple churches in one site — a characteristic shared with Hippos. Gerasa, Rihab, and Umm al-Jimal are the prime examples.
I am also becoming more convinced that regionalism will be more significant than over-arching theories (such as that of Mulholland). My upcoming work at the Albright will seek to tease out these factors.
But before I travel, I have two small sets to put into the site: churches from the Syrian Hauran and churches from southern Phoenicia. As there is little published on these sites and some have been documented without excavation, I should be able to complete the dataset in the next couple of weeks.
Then on to Jerusalem!