Saturday March 13th 2021
Find from the fifth century
Researchers uncover monastery ruins in Egypt
A spectacular find in the desert of Egypt gives scientists an insight into Christian life in days long past. About three churches can be traced in the monastery complex from the fifth century. Even old inscriptions on the walls are still preserved.
Archaeologists have unearthed Christian ruins from the fifth century in the Egyptian desert. These showed that there was a monastic life in the region at that time, announced the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The archaeologists discovered several buildings made of basalt, others were carved into rock or built from pressed bricks.
The complex consists of “six areas, which include the ruins of three churches and monks’ cells,” the ministry said. The walls featured graffiti and “symbols with Coptic connotations,” said Osama Talaat, head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Department.
Archaeologist Victor Chica said the 19 buildings and a church carved into the rock had already been discovered in 2020. The church walls have “religious inscriptions” and passages from the Bible in Greek script. This shows what monastic life was like in the region. It is clear that monks lived there in the fifth century AD.
The remote place in the desert southwest of the capital Cairo was inhabited from the fourth to the eighth centuries. Most of the activities probably took place in the fifth and sixth centuries, said the French Institute for Oriental Archeology responsible for the excavation mission.
It was the third excavation mission by a Franco-Norwegian team on the Tal Ganub Kasr al-Agus site in the Baharija Oasis. The first excavations took place in 2009 and 2013. Egypt has presented a number of spectacular archaeological finds in the past few months. It hopes to revive tourism, which has been ailing for years.