History, Early Research and Recent Studies of the Principal Fortress of the Teutonic Order


Montfort Castle, located in the western Galilee, was the principal fortress of the Teutonic Order, one of the three great military orders of the Crusader period. It was built in the early thirteenth century and occupied and dismantled by the Mamluk army in 1271. It is among the finest examples of Crusader spur castles. This present volume includes discussions by 23 scholars, experts in their fields, in 28 chapters covering every aspect of past and recent scholarship on the history of the Teutonic Order and the castle, travellers’ descriptions, the architecture, the geographical setting, the material culture of the garrison, and detailed descriptions of the 1926 archaeological expedition to Montfort and the ongoing work of the Montfort Castle Project.

Winner of the 2017 Verbruggen prize, awarded annually by the De Re Militari society for the best book on medieval military history. The awarding committee stated that the volume offers ‘a through exploration of all the sources, archaeological and literary, relating to an important site. A model for future work.’

Contributors are Laura Aiello, Zohar Amar, Tamar Backner, Adrian J. Boas, Nativ Dudai, Rafael Frankel, Jonathan J. Gottlieb, Lydia Perelis Grossowicz, Timothy B. Husband, Nurith Kenaan-Kedar, Rabei G. Khamisy, Robert Kool, Dorit Korngreen, Rafael Lewis, Nili Liphschitz, Cecilia Luschi, Lisa Pilosi, Mary B. Shepard, Vardit Shotten-Hallel, Kristjan Toomaspoeg, Andrea Wähning, David Whitehouse, and Mark Wypyski.

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Adrian J. Boas (Ph.D, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995) is Professor of Crusader and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Haifa and is the president of the international Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East. He has published extensively on Crusader history and archaeology including several books on Jerusalem, domestic architecture, and the Military Orders, and has excavated several urban and rural sites and castles.
Rabei G. Khamisy (PhD, University of Haifa, 2014) is a lecturer at the Department of Archaeology of the University of Haifa and a member of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology. He has excavated at a number of sites in Israel and is completing a book on the administration of settlement in the Galilee during the Crusader Period.
"The last couple of decades have been marked by a series of major advances in our understanding of the archaeological remains surviving from the crusader period, particularly those pertaining to the kingdom of Jerusalem... This present work on Montfort Castle expands upon this trend and is, in essence, a survey and summary of the achievements of the Montfort Castle Project (MCP), which was originally started in 2006 by scholars working at the University of Haifa. This project is still underway, so this book provides an interim report on progress so far... Overall, this work stands as testimony to the diligence, inter-disciplinary skill and methodological originality both of the project team as a whole and of Boas and Khamisy (who authored many of these articles) in particular. This is a very impressive piece of work and I feel sure that the team will continue to produce further thought-provoking results in the years to come."
Nicholas Morton, in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 28.2 (2017), 237-8.

"Boas' fundamental collection offers a lot of new material and fresh views and will stimulate upcoming discussions in the scientific community."
Thomas Wozniak, in H-Soz-Kult,

Acknowledgements xi
List of Plates xii
List of Tables xxiii
Note on Names xxiv
List of Contributors xxv
Introduction 1
Adrian J. Boas
Section 1
The History of Montfort Castle
1 Montfort Castle and the Order of the Teutonic Knights in the Latin
East 15
Kristjan Toomaspoeg
2 The Region of Montfort and Land Ownership in the Frankish Period 24
Rabei G. Khamisy
3 Montfort Castle (Qalʿat Al-Qurayn) in Mamluk Sources 28
Rabei G. Khamisy
4 Archaeological Evidence for the Mamluk Sieges and Dismantling of
Montfort: A Preliminary Discussion 41
Adrian J. Boas
Section 2
Montfort Castle after the Crusader Period
5 Montfort Castle in Travellers’ Descriptions and Illustrations 59
Rabei G. Khamisy
6 The Survey of Western Palestine Report on Montfort (1877) 73
Adrian J. Boas
7 The Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition to Montfort (1926) 75
Adrian J. Boas
Section 3
Architecture, Function, Design and Construction of Montfort Castle
8 Initial Thoughts on the Architectural Development of the Castle 95
Adrian J Boas and Rabei G. Khamisy
9 Interpretation of the Parts 102
Adrian J. Boas
10 The Building Below the Castle 120
Laura Aiello and Cecilia Luschi
11 History and Archaeology of the Frankish Village of Tarphile 128
Rabei G. Khamisy
12 The Stones of Montfort: Sources of Stone for Montfort Castle 137
Vardit Shotten-Hallel, Dorit Korngreen and Lydia Perelis Grossowicz
13 Masonry and Masons’ Marks 150
Rabei G. Khamisy
Section 4
Finds from the 1926 Metropolitan Museum of New York Expedition to
14 Introduction to the Finds 160
Adrian J. Boas
15 Ceramic Finds 163
Adrian J. Boas
16 The Winepress at Montfort 168
Rafael Frankel
17 Glass Finds in the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the 1926
Expedition 176
David Whitehouse†, Timothy B. Husband, Lisa Pilosi, Mary B. Shepard
and Mark T. Wypysk
18 Stone, Metal, Wood and Worked Bone Finds from the 1926
Expedition 195
Adrian J. Boas
19 A Roman Imperial Wine Vessel? 221
Tamar Backner
Section 5
New Research
20 The Montfort Castle Project (Mcp): A Summary of the Surveys and the
First Six Excavation Seasons (2011–2015) 227
Adrian J. Boas
21 Coin Finds (1926–2012) and the Use of Money at Montfort 242
Robert Kool
22 Dendroarchaeological Investigations of Finds from Montfort Castle:
Analysis of Finds from 1926 and 2011–2012 256
Nili Liphschitz
23 Tree Wormwood (Artemisia Arborescens) at Montfort Castle:
The Possible Introduction of a Medicinal Plant from Western Europe
to the Latin East in the Crusader Period 258
Nativ Dudai and Zohar Amar
24 The Stone Matrices from Montfort: About Moulds, Tin Relief and the
Polychromy of Shields in the Thirteenth Century 266
Andrea Wähning
25 The Architectural Sculpture of Montfort Castle Revisited 273
Nurith Kenaan-Kedar
26 How Strong was Strong Mountain?
Preliminary Remarks on the Possible Location of the Mamluk Siege
Position at Montfort Castle 282
Rafael Lewis
27 Two Board Games and Some Graffiti from Montfort 287
Adrian J. Boas
28 Brief Preliminary Remarks on the Sampling and Analysis of Mortars
Used in the Construction and Conservation of Montfort Castle 289
Jonathan J. Gottlieb
Summary and Conclusions 302
Adrian J. Boas
Appendix I
Find Lists and the Division of Finds 305
Adrian J. Boas
Appendix II
Compositional Analyses of Vessels and Window Glasses from Montfort
(Weight Percent) 309
David Whitehouse†, Timothy B. Husband, Lisa Pilosi, Mary B. Shepard
and Mark T. Wypyski
Abbreviations 311
Primary Sources 311
Secondary Sources 313
Index 327
This volume is aimed at academics and students of Crusader studies, castle architecture and the military orders. It would be essential for academic institutes and libraries that cover those areas.