On the Highway to Hell: History, Archaeology and the Crusader Defeat at the Battle of Hattin in 1187
Lecture by Rafael Y. Lewis
Given at University of North Carolina – Charlotte on October 31, 2016
Excerpt: The Battle of Hattin took place on the 3rd and 4th of July 1187. We’re talking about, usually when you look, when you open historical books which deal with the time of the Crusades, or actually any conflicts, any battlefields, you would see things like this. Many times you would have a map, a topographical map with arrows pointing in different directions, people – this force went this way, this force went that way. And for me it seemed a little bit not enough. Isn’t this map a little bit too abstract? What about the different archaeological features? What about the different buildings, road systems?
Things need to be added to this, to all this information. So I thought to myself, how do I contribute really archaeologically? Not just finding the arrowheads. How do I really reconstruct the way that the battlefield looked or the battlefields look in different periods years ago. How do I do it? And this is what brought me to think about this idea. Now, since I was the first one to do this in my region, then I had to pick I could pick any battlefield that I wanted. so I obviously picked something that was close to my heart, crusade archaeology. So it was a good opportunity.
Rafael Y Lewis teaches at Ashkelon Academic College.