Renewed research at montfort castle

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In the summer of 1271 Montfort Castle was besieged, occupied and dismantled by the Mamluk army under Sultan Baybars. Over the following seven centuries the ruins have occasionally been visited and described by travellers, but it is only since the middle of the nineteenth century that the former Teutonic stronghold in the Western Galilee has been subjected to serious examination. In the nineteenth century Montfort was described by scholars and travellers from various nations, among others the British Rev. Henry Baker Tristram, Frenchmen Ernest Renan, Victor Guérin and Emmanuel G. Rey, and the Dutch traveller Charles W.M. Van de Velde.1 Tristram and Rey published the earliest known plans of the castle, that of Tristram accompanied by a remarkably inaccurate section, and Van de Velde produced a rather fine illustration of the castle and the building below it in Wadi al-Qurayn (Nahal Kziv) viewed from the north-west (Figure 8.1). In 1877 Horatio H. Kitchener visited Montfort and subsequently published, together with a detailed description of the ruins, a largely accurate plan.2 Kitchener took the earliest known photograph of the castle, viewed from the south-west. In the early twentieth century Montfort was examined by Ernest William Gurney Masterman (1907)3 and underwent its first archaeological excavations when, in 1926, an expedition was organised by Bashford Dean, curator of the Arms and Armor Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1955 a survey of Montfort was carried out by the Israel National Park Authority in preparation for large-scale 1 Henry B. Tristram, The Land of Israel (London, 1865), pp. 76-82; Ernest Renan, Mission de Phénicie (Paris, 1864), pp. 758-61; Victor Guérin, Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine, vol. III: Galilée, (2 vols, Paris, 1880), vol. 2, pp. 52-8; Emmanuel G. Rey, Étude sur les monuments de l’architecture militaire des croisés en Syrie et dans l’île de Chypre, Collection de documents inédits sur l’histoire de France (Paris, 1871), pp. 143-51, and pl. XV; Emmanuel G. Rey, Les colonies franques de Syrie aux XIIme et XIIIme siécles (Paris, 1883), p. 491; Charles W.M. Van de Velde, Narrative of the Journey through Syria and Palestine in 1851-1852 (2 vols, London, 1861), vol. 1, pp. 195-8.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeology and Architecture of the Military Orders
Subtitle of host publicationNew Studies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317179863
ISBN (Print)9781472420534
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Mathias Piana and Christer Carlsson.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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