A French-Norwegian archaeological team have unearthed new Christian ruins, including churches and monks’ cells, in Egypt’s Western Desert.
The 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 Egyptian Antiquities Ministry said in a statement.
The complex is comprised of “six sectors containing the ruins of three churches and monks’ cells”, whose “walls bear graffiti and symbols with Coptic connotations,” said Osama Talaat, head of Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities at the ministry.
In 2020, the team discovered “19 structures and a church carved into the bedrock.”
The church walls which date back to the fifth century AD, were decorated with “religious inscriptions” and biblical passages in Greek, revealing “the nature of monastic life in the region,” said Dr. Victor Ghica, the head of the archaeological team.
The discovery helps understand “the development of buildings and the formation of the first monastic communities” in this region of Egypt, Ghica added.