Ancient Monastic Site Destroyed by Islamists

Egypt’s Christian community continues to suffer attacks by Muslims, including destruction and looting of archaeological and historical sites dating to the first centuries of Christianity.

From Daily News Egypt:

The latest attack targeted Ansana, a historical Egyptian site believed to have been used as a Coptic monastery. Yet, information about it is scarce. “[The site] was never properly studied and published,” said archaeologist Monica Hanna. The site was bombed with dynamite.

Hanna explained on Facebook: “The rock cut monastic site of Ansana in Eastern Mallawi is being systematically looted. Looters use dynamite at a fourth century church in search of treasures. A lot of the monastic caves probably date to an earlier period where demotic inscriptions are still visible. The whole area is full of Coptic, Syriac and Greek inscriptions that have not been completely studied and documented.

The southern monastic community that is built of mud brick is being bulldozed and its western side is taken over by land mafia for agricultural reclamation and is the cause of the Matryria section to be completely lost. The site is at a very high risk of being totally destroyed over the next few months.” 

Looters attempted to hack out this ancient architectural element in Ansana
(Photo from Egypt’s Heritage Taskforce Facebook page)

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Dale

    Is the site being destroyed by Islamists or by looters who are exploiting Egypt’s weakened social stability? The two groups sometimes overlap, but are not necessarily the same. Certainly Egypt has occasional problems with non-Christian sites of antiquity being destroyed for treasure.

    Regardless, it sounds tragic and fuels a sense of helplessness about events in the country.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    It’s both. The Islamists are striking at Christian sites, and the looters are cleaning up what’s left. They’re also looting museums and destroying ancient Egyptian cultural treasures. The radicals detest the glories of ancient Egypt that fuel the tourist trade, which is why Morsi put a hardline governor in charge of Luxor: to satisfy that wing of the party and suppress the tourism industry there.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    They are a bunch of barbarians who have no respect for any one else. Islamists have destroyed other people’s art all across the world. This is not unique or a local thing.

  • JoFro

    He not just any hardline governor even! Adel Mohamed al Khayat hails from Gamaa Islamiya, the group accused of carrying out the grisly massacre in Luxor in 1997 of four Egyptians and 58 foreign tourists – including a five-year-old boy.

    This is like a former Nazi soldier being appointed the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center!


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