A cross-regional initiative for the study of
monasticism in the late antique Near East
Tombs in the Batn al-Baqara
The team is currently focusing its investigation on a series of rock-cut tombs in the southern wall of the Batn al-Baqara, west of the Speos Artemidos. The tombs vary considerably in size and style and their dating is problematic. At the beginning of the twentieth century, they attracted the attention of the archaeologist John Garstang, who mentions them briefly in his publication (click here—access available in USA only), but says nothing of their adaptive reuse by Christian monks in late antiquity. The left image below shows the eastern portion of the range and identifies the two tombs (A and B) discussed further down on this page; the right image below shows the western portion of the range, which extends to the wadi entrance.
General view of Tomb A
Niches in eastern wall of Tomb A
Decoration and Coptic dipinti on eastern wall of Tomb A (arrow pointing to name of Biktor)
Holes, decoration, and Coptic dipinti on eastern wall of Tomb A (arrow pointing to nomen sacrum for Jesus)
Exterior view of Tomb B, showing widened entryway and two windows. This tomb appears to have been converted into a chapel by the monks.
Interior view of Tomb B, looking east and showing apse, niches, and window
Southern wall of Tomb B, showing decorative pattern with Christian crosses on upper part of wall
Detail of decorative pattern, southwestern corner of Tomb B