Sunday, March 14, 2021

The earliest excavated monastery? With Greek biblical inscriptions.

ARCHAEOLOGY: In Photos: Oldest archaeologically attested monastic site discovered in Egypt's Bahariya Oasis. The site consists of six sectors constructed predominantly of basalt blocks and mud, mud bricks, and a number of buildings which are dug partially - or completely - in the geological substratum (Nevine El-Aref, Ahram Online).
"A new discovery at the site of Tel Ganub Qasr Al-‘Aguz, is perhaps the oldest archaeologically attested monastic site, not only in Egypt, but in the world," said Victor Ghica, Professor in Antiquity and Early Christian Studies and the Head of the Norwegian-French archaeological mission.

The site is located some 370km southwest of Cairo in the Bahariya Oasis and has seen three seasons of excavation in partnership between the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) and MF Vitenskapelig Høyskole, Norway.


There are also epigraphic discoveries at the site:
The walls of four of the rooms of the sixth sector, including the church, were covered with a variety of biblical and patristic texts written in Greek. In addition, a number of Greek ostraca were also uncovered, which make explicit reference to monks. Absolute dates are not yet available for this sector, but much of the ceramic and written material found therein suggest a final occupation in the fifth or sixth century.
The ruins date from the mid-fourth century to the seventh century. The article includes two photos of the site and photos of a wall inscription and an ostracon.

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