Ancient Monastery Discovered in Bahariya Oasis of Egypt

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt has recently announced on Twitter about the discovery of mud-brick structures belong to the 4th & 7th centuries CE in Bahariya Oasis of Egypt. The discovery was done by the joint Norwegian French Mission to Egypt.

Aerial view of site, Source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (Egypt)

The structure was unearthed during a regular excavation by the Norwegian French archaeological Mission. It was their third excavation at the archaeological site of Tal Ganoub Qasr al-Agouz at the Bahariya Oasis of the western Egyptian desert region. The building has been interpreted as the Ancient Christian monastery. The structure consists of cells for monks, three churches, and biblical graffiti of Biblical faith.

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The site gives a glimpse of the ancient life of Christian monks in the monasteries. This season of archaeological excavation revealed a total of nineteen rooms along with three churches and a dining hall. The religious inscriptions were written with yellow ink. The words were taken from the Greek bible. Apart from the structural remains, ceramics with Greek inscriptions and sherds of ostraca have been also found during the excavations.

Inscription in Greek, Source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (Egypt)

According to the officials of the antiquities ministry, basalt stone, and mud bricks were used in the construction of these structures. The wall of the structures comprises drawing and symbols with Coptic meanings. The walls of the churches were decorated with spiritual inscriptions and biblical passages in ancient Greek script.

view of walls with yellow ink at site, Source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (Egypt)

This finding in the Oasis is significant to Egyptian archaeology and history as it is the 1st monastic structure in Egypt in this area. It also provides insights into ancient religious architectural planning.

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