Saturday, January 21, 2017

Coptic epitaphs excavated in the Sudan

COPTIC WATCH: Massive Burial Ground Unearthed at Medieval Monastery in Sudan (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
Four cemeteries, from which at least 123 individuals have been excavated so far, have been unearthed near the remains of a medieval Christian monastery in Sudan. A few of the burials contained individuals buried in unusual ways.

The cemeteries and remains, which have been excavated over the past two years, are located at a monastery called al-Ghazali near the Nile River. The people who were buried there lived about 1,000 years ago, during a time when a series of Christian kingdoms flourished in the area, according to Robert Stark, a doctoral student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who presented the findings this month in Toronto at the joint annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society for Classical Studies.

The discoveries include well-preserved burial shrouds that in a few instances still cover the skulls of the deceased, Stark said. The archaeologists also found tombstones with engravings of prayers that were written in Greek or Coptic (an Egyptian language that uses the Greek alphabet). In one cemetery, some people were buried in mysterious ways: For example, two individuals were found with post-mortem cut marks incised in their bones.

There are more photos at Live Science: In Photos: 1,000-Year-Old Cemeteries Unearthed in Sudan. Unfortunately, neither article has a photo of any of the inscriptions, but the first one does have some more information on the tombstones and their epitaphs.