Qasr Ali - ST. PETER

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Source of knowledge
Archaeological remains
Surveyed site
Van Kasteren
Khul and Meingold
Excavated site
According to Cyril of Scythopolis (V. Euth. 35 [ed.Schwartz, 53.9]), Empress Eudocia founded a church and built a reservoir about 3.7 km (20 stadia) from the monastery of Euthymius. The source does not mention a monastery, the existence of which was deduced from the archaeological remains at the site. Schneider (1934) identified the site at Qasr 'Ali as Eudocia's foundation. The site was abandoned in the Early Islamic period.
Cyril of Scythopolis recounts how the Empress Eudocia built a church dedicated to St. Peter and a large reservoir next to it (V. Euthy. 35 [ed. Schwartz: 53]). No mention of a monastery or a tower is made by him. Nor is there mention of the monastery in other sources. This lacuna might indicate that there was, in fact, no monastery at the site. On the other hand, Hirschfeld wrote: “It is reasonable to assume that the church and water reservoir were built at the same time as the tower and living quarters, together creating a small monastery complex.” (Hirschfeld 1990: 294). If this is so, it is rather strange that Cyril did not mention this. The issue might be resolved with further investigation of the site. Two other possibilities should be considered: a. The residential structure and the tower were built at a later stage, after Cyril had written his hagiography or perhaps after his death. b. The residential structure was not a monastery in its own right but was a hospice for pilgrims tended by monks belonging to a monastery in the area (perhaps the monastery of Euthymius). This would account for the fact that there is only one large residential structure which probably served the pilgrims, while the tower, which had only two rooms, served as dwellings for the monks. This would also account for the absence of a perimeter wall surrounding the complex. The identification of the site as a road station rather than a monastery was suggested by Kuhl and Meingold (1929). Magen and Di Segni both dispute the monastic identification in favor of a road station for pilgrims (Magen and Kagan 2012: 309, no. 163; Di Segni 2016: 185*-186*).
State of certainty: 
Uncertain / Questionable
Architectural evolution
General outline: 
The church and reservoir were erected by Empress Eudocia in 459. There is no mention in the source of a monastery or a tower.
Dating material: 

Based on the literary source. No dating has been established for the monastery.

Phase date
5th c.
Within century: 
Phase date
7th c?
Within century: 
First half