This unit will give students a comprehensive overview of the main archaeological sites in Egypt from Late Antiquity, looking at both communal monasteries and semi-anchoritic settlements, analysing their characteristic components and their evolution in time. Students will also study the representation of wall paintings presented in the most important monastic sites. This unit will also consider how textual information pertaining to the various theologies present in late antique Egypt is reflected in monastic architecture, as revealed archaeologically.

Unit code: AH1140A (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: History

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Explain how to interpret an archaeological site and associated findings within an overall historical context.


Identify the main monuments and artefacts from Christian Egypt;


Identify architectural techniques and patterns, and decorative art styles;


Assess the relation between literary, archaeological, and art historic aspects.


12 weekly sessions consisting of lectures, presentations, and class discussion.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Badawy, Alexander, Coptic Art and Archaeology, Cambridge, 1978.
  • Bolman, E., Monastic Visions. Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea, New Haven, 2002.
  • Evelyn-White, Hugh, The Monasteries of Wadi ‘n Natrun, Part I-III, New York, 1926-33.
  • Frend, W. H. C., The Archaeology of Early Christianity, Minneapolis, 1996.
  • Gabra, Gawdat, Coptic Monasteries: Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture, Cairo, 2004.
  • Grossmann, Peter, Abu Mina, a Guide to the Ancient Pilgrimage Center, Cairo, 1986.
  • Lyster, William, The Cave Church of St. Paul the Hermit, Cairo, 2008.
  • Quibell, J. E., Excavations at Saqqara, v. 4. 1908-1909, 1909-1910. The Monastery of Apa Jeremias, Cairo, 1912.
  • Wilfong, T. G., Women of Jeme. Lives in a Coptic Town in Late Antique Egypt, Ann Arbor, 2002.
  • Winlock, H. E. and W. E. Crum, The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes. 2 vols, New York, 1926.
  • Articles that are compulsory weekly readings will be made available online [in PDF format].


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Museum Catalogue

Create a museum catalogue equivalent to 2000 words

0 40.0
Essay - Group Presentation (15min)

Group (oral) presentation for 15 minutes + 500 word summary equivalent to 1000 words.

0 30.0

Individual (oral) presentation [15 mins] + 500 word summary equivalent to 1000 words.

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-01-25 11:56:47 +1100