Archaeologists unearth Coptic-era tombs in Egypt

(ORDO NEWS) — An international archaeological mission working in the Egyptian province of Minya, during the excavations, discovered a series of previously unknown tombs from the Coptic era.

According to Heritage Daily, the excavations were carried out by archaeologists from the University of Barcelona and the Egyptian High Council of Archeology at the archaeological site of Al-Bahnasa, in the province of Minya. In ancient times it was an important center of Upper Egypt.

The joint mission discovered 22 previously unknown tombs. Six of them belong to the Roman and Persian periods.

The remaining 16 free-standing tombs belong to the Coptic-Byzantine period. These structures attracted the greatest interest of scientists, since such tombs are rare.

The Coptic period is divided into two time periods: the 3rd-4th centuries AD, when the Roman period of Egypt ended, and the 4th-7th centuries AD, when the Byzantine period reigned in Egypt.

The Copts were ancient Egyptian Christians.

The discovered tombs just point to the religious shift that occurred in Egypt in those years – from the Greco-Roman pagan host of gods and their own cult of Isis to Coptic Christianity.

However, this process was stopped in the 7th century AD after the Muslim conquest of Egypt.

Roman tombs are reported to have been built of limestone. All of them turned out to be without lids, that is, these burials were plundered by marauders, probably in ancient times.

As for the tombs of the Coptic era, they all have a regular rectangular shape and contain the remains of people covered with decorated shrouds.

The city of Al Bahnasa, also known as Oxyrhynchus, was first excavated in 1897 by explorers Surridge Hunt and Bernard Pine Grenfell.

These scholars then succeeded in discovering thousands of papyri written in Greek from the Roman period of Egypt.

Almost all artifacts were taken out. A significant number of them are now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.


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