Excavating Christian Western Thebes: A History<sup>1</sup>

Gawdat Gabra and Hany N. Takla

in Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9789774163111
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970481 | DOI:
Excavating Christian Western Thebes: A History1

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Visitors, dealers, collectors, and archaeologists in modern times have judged the impressive pharaonic stone monuments to be physically encumbered by post-pharaonic reuse and, accordingly, have sought to return the tombs and mortuary temples to an imagined “pristine” state. Over half of the edited corpus of Coptic papyri (about 3,300 items) can be attributed to the region (Delattre 2005–), with the result that the site is one of the best documented in antiquity. Nationally aligned institutions jockeyed to establish prominent collections under a greater or lesser pretense of scholarship and, in 1858, the Egyptian Antiquities Service began to regulate excavation. At the late antique town site of Memnonion/Jeme located at modern Madinat Habu, he apparently purchased a manuscript containing so-called Gnostic texts and now known as the Bruce Codex (Bodl., MS Bruce 96).

Keywords: archaeologists; pharaonic stone monuments; Coptic papyri; antiquity; Western Thebes; Egyptian Antiquities Service; excavation; Memnonion; Gnostic texts; Bruce Codex

Chapter.  6754 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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