There has been a resurgence in interest in medieval Near Eastern fortifications over the last thirty years. A large number of archaeological missions have expanded our knowledge of these castles and made it easier to distinguish between the parts built by the Crusaders and those built by Muslims.
Among the recent academic works on fortifications in the Near East is Benjamin Michaudel's doctoral thesis, which he defended in 2005 at the University of Paris IV under the supervision of Marianne Barrucand and Anne-Marie Eddé: Les fortifications ayyoubides et mameloukes en Syrie côtière de la fin du XIIe siècle au début du XIIIe siècle. It is an extensive study of the refortification of the Crusader fortresses of coastal Syria by Muslim princes. As a Near East specialist, his translations of Arabic sources, particularly accounts of sieges, provided insight into the development of these fortresses and deepened his understanding of the construction phases of castles in northern Syria.
”Balnéorient. 25 siècles de bain collectif en Orient. Proche-Orient, Égypte et péninsule Arabique”
Since Paul Deschamps, no French mission had studied the Krak des Chevaliers as a whole. As part of a broader National Research Agency (ANR) project, Balnéorient” (2006-2010), several baths in Syrian fortresses were examined, included at the Krak des Chevaliers. The team was composed of Benjamin Michaudel, a researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient, Dr. Cyril Yovitchitch from the Université Paris IV, and the topographer Philippe Sablayrolles. The study focused on a series of Ayyubid and Mamluk baths and revealed the variety of thermal systems found in fortified buildings, answering questions about the status of their users.
Jean Mesqui began to reassess the work of Paul Deschamps as early as 1995. In 2003, he placed online a previously unpublished typescript of a work in progress on Hospitaller fortifications in Syria and Lebanon: Forteresses médiévales au Proche-Orient. Les châteaux des Hospitaliers au nord du comté de Tripoli.
Jean Mesqui has been working in collaboration with the engineer Maxime Goepp on a book - a comprehensive critical revision of the site and all the publications devoted to it - since 2014. These new analyses will be synthesized in a 3D reconstruction of the fortress, illustrating each stage of its construction.