Photographer’s gift shows Syria as it was

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 11:32 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Frank Kidner was a history scholar at San Francisco State University in 1993 when he took the first of what would be four trips to Syria over the course of a decade to study ruins dating to the Roman Empire. Kidner documented his research in more than 9,000 photographs that detail architecture, topography, and the monuments themselves, focusing in particular on the Dead Cities region outside Aleppo. “My interest in the built environment of the past had been there since childhood,” said the 78-year-old, now-retired professor, who recently donated the images to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Kidner, who lives in El Cerrito, Calif., has long been interested in the emergence of Christianity in the physical Roman world. In his trips to the Dead Cities, some 700 former settlements along the hills of the Bélus Massif in northwest Syria, he cataloged ruins reflective of a wealthy rural life steeped in trade....

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