Bethlehem - The Nativity: Constantinian church

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Architectural Evolution
Dating material: 

Building operation started in 327/328 (Helena’s visit to the Holy Land). In 333, the Bordeaux pilgrim saw a church built above the cave.28 The official consecration feast took place on 31 May 339 (Bacci 2017, ch. 2, note 29). 

Phase date
Century: 
4th c.
Within century: 
First half
General outline: 
According to Harvey, new mosaic floors were laid in the nave in a level higher than the original bases that supported the basilica columns, and in the upper platform. A mosaic repair from the 5rh century can also be seen in the lowest step leading from the nave to the octagon. These mosaic floors, depicting acanthus scrolls and Geometric patterns, was dated to the end of the 4th and early 5th c. This dating was accepted by many. But more recently Madden (2012) argued that the mosaics are Constantinian. Two curving walls uncovered under the north and south transepts which belonged neither to the first Constantinian church, nor to the Justinianic building phase which it preceded, is to be dated sometimes in-between, given that they were broken by the present Justinianic walls and that the northern one also encroached on the mosaic floor. The latter could be viewed as remnants of a trefoil-shaped east end made sometimes between the fourth and the sixth, yet more probably in the fifth century, that is in the age of the alleged redecoration of the pavement with new mosaics (Bacci 2017, Plan iii and ch. 3, notes 14-15). Namely: the Constantinian church was rebuilt sometime in the fifth or sixth century, with the destruction of the octagon and its substitution with a trefoil-end. But the mosaic floors seem to be dated earlier, so perhaps we have here more than one phase.
Phase date
Century: 
4th-5th c.
Dating material: 

Ashes uncovered over the mosaic floors recorded by Harvey, indicate that the church was damaged by a violent fire. 

According to Euthychius bishop Alexandria (10th c.), the church was damaged in a Samaritans revolt of and rebuilt anew by Justinian. Procopius does not include it among the building projects of Justinian. Hence, it might have been built in the last days of Justinian, later than 560 CE, and the Samaritan revolt mentioned by Euthychius might be that of 556.

Phase date
Century: 
6th c.
Within century: 
Mid