Archaeologists have unearthed early Christian monastic ruins in Egypt’s Western Desert. According to a report by the Guardian, the basalt structures uncovered by the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology at the site of Tal Ganoub Qasr al-Agouz in the Bahariya Oasis, which include churches and monks’ cells, date between the 4th and 7th centuries A.D.
Osama Talaat, head of Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish Antiquities at the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, told the Guardian that the “walls bear graffiti and symbols with Coptic connotations.”
Victor Ghica, who led the archaeological team, said that the church walls feature “religious inscriptions,” including biblical inscriptions in Greek. Ghica added that the finding sheds light on “the nature of monastic life in the region.”
[Read about some of the most important archaeological findings of the 2010s.]
The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry said in a statement, “The French-Norwegian mission discovered during its third excavation campaign at the site of Tal Ganoub Qasr al-Agouz in the Bahariya Oasis several buildings made of basalt, others carved into the bedrock and some made of mud bricks.”
The monastic ruins are not the only significant archaeological findings in Egypt to make headlines in recent months. In February, an ancient brewery was identified at the ancient site of Abydos; scholars believe it may be the oldest royal beer factory in the world. That same month, at least one mummy with a tongue made of gold foil was found at the Taposiris Magna Temple in western Alexandria, along with 16 burial shafts from the Greek and Roman periods.