Washington University Special Collections, courtesy of David Hanlon

Butler thoroughly explored the “Dead Cities” region of northwestern Syria, with its hundreds of settlements and churches from the late Roman and Byzantine periods. In his book Early Churches in Syria, which was published posthumously in 1929, he describes this fifth-century A.D. church at Mshabbak as the “most perfectly preserved of all the basilical churches of North Syria, and one that seems typical of the ecclesiastical architecture of the third quarter of the fifth century in this province … The interior presents pleasing proportions of breadth and height … The capitals of the nave arcade are mixed, showing an alternation of Corinthian and Ionic forms.”