The excavated structures included a church with Greek and Coptic inscriptions.
Archaeologists working in Egypt have reported the discovery of a 5th-century Christian ruin. The find is significant as the first evidence of such an early Christian monastic presence in the region.
According to The Guardian, the excavation was conducted by a team of archaeologists from France and Norway. The discovery came while conducting their third campaign at a site called Tal Ganoub Qasr al-Agouz, in the Bahariya Oasis. The report notes that the site, located just south of Cairo, was dated to a time of great activity in the area, from the 4th to the 8th centuries.
The Times of Israel reports that 20 structures were discovered in the excavation. These included a church and many smaller chambers believed to be monk’s quarters. Some were constructed with basalt, while others were created from mud bricks or hewn out of the bedrock.
Within the church, the team found that the walls were adorned with religious inscriptions in Greek. Also found were ancient forms of Christian graffiti and holy symbols of the Coptic tradition. Images of the Christian ruin and these inscriptions can be seen in the above video.
Osama Talaat, Head of Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish Antiquities at the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, said the discovery revealed “the nature of monastic life in the region.” He noted that it proved that Christian monks maintained a monastic presence in the region since the 5th century. Talaat went on to muse that the site could be instrumental in understanding “the development of buildings and the formation of the first monastic communities” in Egypt.