Katharina Palmberger

Katharina Palmberger

Katharina Palmberger
Byzantine History of Art
Mandel Building, 3rd floor, room 353

Sacred Architecture
Architectural History
Premodern History of Art


Current Projects: 

My main interest lies on researching sacred architecture and the role it plays for communities and regions. In my current project I will be working on the Byzantine settlements in the Negev desert, because these provide an extraordinary object of study for the interaction of church architecture within urban spaces in Late Antiquity.

The Negev desert offers several settlements that had a uniquely high standard of living in Late Antiquity and the Byzantine period. These towns are endowed with numerous churches that show a very distinct style in their architecture and ornamentation. The location of the Negev between Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza and Petra places it at the nexus of pilgrimage and trade routes. Multi-lateral influence would therefore not only be possible, but expected. Nevertheless, the churches exhibit a particularly homogeneous, unostentatious style.

Based on art-historical and archaeological methods I will examine the architecture of the churches. Furthermore, cultural-historical interpretations will be utilized to explore the role of the churches in shaping the cultural space constituted by the Negev settlements. Since churches are markers and hallmarks of pre-modern urban spaces, I aim to provide a better understanding of the underlying cultural tendencies that made the Byzantine towns in the Negev such an interesting success story.

Curriculum Vitae 

Fellowships and Grants 

  • 2021            Post-Doc Fellow, Minerva Stiftung, Institute for Art History, HU Jerusalem

  • 2015            Research Grant, German Protestant Institute of Archaeology (GPIA)/ DEI Jerusalem

  • 2014 – 2015 Graduate Scholarship of the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich

  • 2012 – 2014 Graduate Scholarship of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich

  • 2005 – 2006 Scholarship of the Dr. Auguste Schaedel-Dantscher Foundation, Garmisch


  • 2016 – 2018
    Assistant Director and Excavation Manager for the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology (GPIA)/ DEI Jerusalem. Management of the project: Stadtgeschichte Jerusalems. Archäologische Grabung im Protestantischen Zionsfriedhof in Jerusalem (The GPIA’s Mt. Zion Excavation Project).

  • 2011 – 2016
    PhD at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich; Department for the History of Late Antique and Byzantine Art / Byzantine Studies. Title of the PhD: “Das unverrückbar Heilige: Jerusalems Loca Sancta in der Kreuzfahrerzeit(The immovable Holy: Jerusalem’s Loca Sancta in Crusader Times).

  • 2005 – 2011
    Magister Artium at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich; Classical Archaeology, History of Late Antique and Byzantine Art, History of Art. Topic: “Labra – Luxus in Marmor. Verwendung und Funktion”.


  • Palmberger, Katharina: Das unverrückbar Heilige – Jerusalems Loca Sancta in der Kreuzfahrerzeit, Wiesbaden 2020.

  • Bergmeier, Armin; Palmberger, Katharina (ed.): Erzeugung und Zerstörung von Sakralität zwischen Antike und Mittelalter. Beiträge der internationalen Tagung in München vom 20.-21.10.2015, DWJ Special Issue_vol. 1, Heidelberg/München 2016.


  • 03/2019: Die Kreuzfahrer – Geschichte und Kunst. Study Program “Studium in Israel”, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • 01/2019: Jerusalem: Kunst – Politik – Religion. Chair for Catholic Theology, RWTH University of Aachen.

  • 12/2018: Church Architecture in the Crusader Period. In: Tempel, Synagogen, Kirchen und Moscheen: Sakralarchitektur in Palästina von der Bronzezeit bis zum Mittelalter. Deutscher Verein zur Erforschung Palästinas (DPV) / Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.

  • 05/2018: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and its History of Plundering. In: Pillaging Sacred Spaces, International Workshop. University of Cologne; Department for Antiquity, Chair for Byzantine Studies.

  • 01/2018: Das Unverrückbar Heilige. Jerusalems Loca Sancta in der Kreuzfahrerzeit. Chair for Byzantine Studies, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.

  • 11/2017: Die Ausgrabungen auf dem Zionsberg. Stiftungen der EKD im Heiligen Land, Redeemer’s Church, Jerusalem

  • 11/2015: How to destroy sacrality? The history of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. In: Old and Modern Art: A New Vision. Symposion, Department of Art History, Tbilisi State University, Georgia.

  • 11/2014: Architectural Translations of Jerusalem in Georgia. In: On the Verge: Time and Space. Symposium, Department for Art History, Tbilisi State University, Georgia.