Open Access: Prof. Gawlikowski’s book on the temple of Allat in Palmyra

During the ongoing Open Access Week, Prof. Michał Gawlikowski’s monograph “Le sanctuaire d’Allat à Palmyre” has been released in Open Access by the University of Warsaw Press. The book presents the results of research in the temple of the goddess Allat in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

The discovery of the temple by PCMA UW expedition took place in 1975. Digging the ruins of a small sanctuary, archaeologists uncovered a well-preserved statue of Athena, identified in Palmyra with the goddess Allat. Fragments of a monumental relief of a lion protecting a gazelle were also found in the temple grounds. This representation is now used as PCMA UW logo.

The book includes a detailed architectural analysis of the sanctuary, which existed from the 1st to the 4th century AD, and an in-depth study of the Allat statue. The author combines the analysis of archaeological data and epigraphic and numismatic sources with discussions on art history and religious studies.

Professor Gawlikowski’s publication received positive reviews:

Laurent Tholbecq, (2020): “We are grateful to Gawlikowski for publishing this excellent monograph, all the more valuable because it provides data and interpretations that are now indispensable in the study of the decorations and sacred spaces of the Palmyrene and the Near East.”

Annie Sartre-Fauriat, (2019): “Let me once again emphasize the scholarly importance of this publication on one of the temples of Palmyra, which, although not as well known as the temples of Bel or Baalshamin, is nevertheless of great importance for the history of the place and the religious practices of its inhabitants.”

Andreas Schmidt-Colinet, (2019): “With the publication of the Allat temple we gain a new and deeper understanding not only of the architectural development of the shrine but also of the development of the religious life of the ‘Caravan City’ within the historical process of ‘Romanization’. With detailed description and excellent graphic and photographic documentation, it is possible to trace every step in the Author’s inferences from the complex archaeological evidence.”

The book was published in 2017, two years after the destruction of Palmyra’s ancient ruins during the civil war. The monuments fell victim to deliberate destruction, as did the objects from the temple of Allat exhibited in the local museum, including the statue of Athena and the lion relief. The latter was reconstructed by Polish conservators three years later in the National Museum in Damascus.

Read more about PCMA UW research in Palmyra