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Christianity and Monasticism in Upper EgyptVolume 2 Nag Hammadi–Esna$

Gawdat Gabra and Hany N. Takla

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163111

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163111.001.0001

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Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Chapter:
(p.7) 2. Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)
Source:
Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt
Author(s):

Gawdat Gabra

Hany N. Takla

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774163111.003.0002

Abstract and Keywords

In the period of intensive Christian settlement (fifth–eighth centuries), the entire district was home to numerous monastic establishments built mainly in and over the temples and tombs of the pharaonic age, continuing the ancient tradition of their use as holy space. Traces of the existence of Christian cities in the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth century were regularly sacrificed in the search for pharaonic remains of their mud-brick fabric exploited for fertilizer. Impressive remains of monastic ruins could still be seen by travelers in the mid-nineteenth century, but their modern destruction means that their locations are largely unrecorded. Despite widespread destruction, careful excavation and analysis of extant material can still provide useful information, as is shown by recent research.

Keywords:   monastic ruins, pharaonic age, excavation, destruction, Christian settlement

Introduction to the Project1

In the following we will discuss one of the sites of Christian occupation in the Theban area. We shall try to provide a glimpse, on a very minute scale, into the afterlife of a pharaonic tomb in the Theban Necropolis west of modern Luxor. This tomb, Theban Tomb number TT233 in the northern Dra Abu al-Naga region,2 was occupied during the post-pharaonic period by Christian inhabitants from a monastic milieu.

We will provide an introduction to the textual finds, consisting of ostraca, papyrus fragments, and graffiti from the Macquarie University excavation of Theban Tomb number TT233. The results are preliminary because work on the post-pharaonic remains from this tomb started only in late 2007. The material is currently being reviewed for publication.

Geographical Background

In the post-pharaonic period the town of Luxor and the west bank of the Nile, with all the well-known remains of pharaonic temples, ceremonial routes, and cemeteries, continued to be an area of intense settlement until well into the early Islamic period.

In the period of intensive Christian settlement (fifth-eighth centuries), the entire district was home to numerous monastic establishments built mainly in and over the temples and tombs of the pharaonic age, (p.8) continuing the ancient tradition of their use as holy space.3 Lay settlement can also be found: an example of this is the largest and best preserved of the funerary temples of the Pharaohs lined up along the eastern edge of the low desert, that of Ramesses III, now known as Madinat Habu. In Roman and Christian times, the temple contained a small town (Jeme in Coptic) and was occupied continuously until at least the eighth century (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 4; Hölscher 1954 : 45–58; Wilfong 2002 : 1–22; Behlmer 2007 : 163).

To the north of Jeme lies the plain of the Assasif, dominated today by the spectacular pharaonic temples at Dayr al-Bahari, the processional route from the temples to the cultivated land, and the multitude of tombs aligned to it.4 In the period of intense monastic settlement, looking across the Assasif from the cultivated area there would have been the imposing Monastery of Apa Phoibammon at the far west, crowning the temple mound now known as Dayr al-Bahari; to the south the Monastery of Cyriacus on the east face of the hill of Shaykh Abd al-Qurna; westwards the Monastery of Epiphanius; and, on the brow of the southern height of Dra Abu al-Naga, the towering monastery now known as Dayr al-Bakhit (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 14–21; Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 42–44; Behlmer 2007 : 164; O’Connell 2007 2019: 245, 257). Everywhere the rock-cut tombs were used for stables or industries, or occupied by anchorites, especially in lofty positions overlooking the plain and the valley (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 3, 12, 20–21; O’Connell 2007 2019: 249). The picture is of a landscape populated by monks, associated with smaller local monasteries as well as the major ones, making of the entire West Bank at Thebes a hive of very active and interconnected monastic communities, which, in their turn, interacted with the agricultural settlements in the cultivated area.

In the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth centuries, traces of the existence of Christian sites, or post-pharaonic sites in general, were regularly sacrificed in the search for pharaonic remains or their mud-brick fabric exploited for fertilizer. Impressive remains of monastic ruins could still be seen by travelers in the mid-nineteenth century, but their modern destruction means that their locations are largely unrecorded. While this obscures the layout of the district of Armant, some idea of the number of monastic establishments can be estimated from the numerous textual records that were left in their ruins (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 3; Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 42). Identification (p.9) and location of the monastic establishments is thus one of the objectives in studying these documents. In fact, despite this widespread destruction, careful excavation and analysis of extant material can still provide useful information, as is shown by recent research (Heurtel 2002 ; Heurtel 2003a ; O’Connell 2007 ; Behlmer 2007 : 163).

Introduction to the Area: Dayr al-bakhit

The site presented here, TT233, the Ramesside tomb of Saroy, is in an area of monastic settlement connected to the Monastery of Dayr al-Bakhit. Winlock describes the site of the monastery as “the ruins of one of the most considerable Christian monasteries of Western Thebes [covering] a large area [and] commanding an extensive view both desertwards and over the cultivation” (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 : vol. 1, 21). The outer wall encloses an area of 0.4 hectares, which suggests that Dayr al-Bakhit might have been the largest monastery in the area (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 50). A sketch of the huge ruin by Wilkinson in 1824–25 shows a multistory building reminiscent of European monasteries and gives an idea of what was still standing in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.5

The ancient name for the site known by the modern name ‘Dayr al-Bakhit’ (possibly to be translated as ‘northern convent’) has not yet been discovered (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 44–45). Recently the question has been raised whether it, rather than Dayr al-Bahari, could have been the site of the well-attested Monastery of Apa Phoibammon (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 43–46).

In recent years the site has been excavated by a joint mission from the German Archaeological Institute and the University of Munich (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 43–46; Eichner and Fauerbach 2005 ). The monastery site has been dated from the late fifth century to the early eighth century (Eichner and Fauerbach 2005 : 150–52; Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 55–56, 60). The Coptic usage of tomb number K93.11, which was integrated into the monastery, has been dated to the seventh to ninth centuries, based on the pottery (Polz 2006 ; Eichner and Fauerbach 2005 : 150, 152).6 Recent excavation has brought to light, in addition to numerous textual finds, a dining room that had a capacity of up to seventy-two monks and a substantial graveyard adjoining the monastery to the north (Eichner and Fauerbach 2005 : 152). The ostraca and papyrus finds from the monastery included religious texts, container labels, and school exercises, (p.10)

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Fig. 2.1. Regional map of Dra Abu al-Naga (drawing: Matthew Underwood).

but mostly letter fragments.7 The nearby tomb K93.11 contained a similar profile of material including many school texts, suggesting that it may have housed a school. Other evidence, however, indicates that it might have been used mainly for the storage and processing of grain (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 63–65; Polz and Rummel 2007).

Introduction to the Site: TT233

Winlock mentions previous finds of ostraca and a papyrus on and near the site of Dayr al-Bakhit, the occupation debris lying about, and the existence of several outlying cells, with one south of the site, down the slope, and others in the nearby wadi in tombs (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 21–22).8 This description probably does not refer to the tombs on the eastern face such as TT233 and TT148.

The map in Figure 2.1 shows a section of Dra Abu al-Naga with Dayr al-Bakhit outlined by its modern fence, its cemetery, and the associated structure which is also part of that complex. Macquarie University's mission under the directorship of Boyo Ockinga works on New Kingdom tombs TT147, TT148, and TT233, and associated tombs. Tomb number TT233 is situated about 200 meters to the north of the monastery (p.11)

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Fig. 2.2. View of Tomb no. TT233 (photograph: Boyo Ockinga).

and cemetery, down the slope but not directly below the monastery.9 The view from the tomb over the river to the temples of Karnak is unimpeded, and the tomb itself is easily accessible from the cultivation (see Fig. 2.2 ).

TT233 (along with its conjoined tomb Kampp number -183-) and the neighboring tomb of Amenemope, TT148, show signs of extensive use during the post-pharaonic period. As the excavators describe it: “the courtyard and chapels of tombs -183- and TT233 also provide abundant evidence for the occupation of the site during the non-systemic Late Roman (Coptic) period, in particular in the form of pottery and Coptic ostraca and papyrus fragments” (Ockinga 2007 : 147). In both cases the later habitation has been built directly over the pharaonic debris.10

There is not only textual evidence for post-pharaonic life, but also some limited material evidence, mainly textile fragments. These finds will be discussed in the final publication of TT233 and may shed further evidence on the use-life and the accessibility of the tomb itself after its initial role as a New Kingdom burial site. The presence of Coptic graffiti in the (p.12) broad hall indicates that the interior of the tomb was accessible during some of the period of Christian settlement.11 There is a built-in mud brick structure identified as an oven from the Christian period in the northeast corner of the courtyard.

The Macquarie University mission spent five seasons excavating in TT233 and its associated structures: December 1996-January 1997; November-December 1998; January-February 2000; November-December 2000; and January-February 2002.

In the January 2000 season the area in front of TT233 (except the facade) and the broad hall of -183- were cleared. Fragments of Coptic ostraca and papyri were found, as well as Coptic graffiti in the broad hall (Ockinga 2000 : 103–107). In the November 2000 season the chapel and subterranean complex of TT233 and the long hall and chapel of -183- were completed (Ockinga 2002 : 135–39, 142). In the January 2002 season, work continued on -183- (Ockinga 2002: 142–43). The following discussion will focus on the textual finds registered in the January 2000, November 2000, and January 2002 seasons.

Recording of the Textual Finds

The ostraca and papyrus finds include religious texts, container labels, and school exercises, but mostly letter fragments, as is the situation at the Dayr al-Bakhit complex and other monastic settlements in the area.12 The total volume of Coptic textual material is comparable to or somewhat smaller than some of the lesser tombs in Shaykh Abd al-Qurna settled in the Christian period (for example, TT84 or 95)13 and composed mainly of small fragments. Complete texts, either on ostracon or on papyrus, are rare.

A first season of work on the Coptic textual finds from TT233 was held during December 2008.14 This involved collation of the original finds with preliminary transcriptions and descriptions derived from the color and monochrome photographs taken by Leonie Donovan during earlier seasons, and with the mission records. The graffiti in the tomb were recorded. The textual finds had been distributed between the tomb and the secure storage magazine of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, but they were all consolidated in the magazine at the end of the season.

The following examination techniques were applied to the texts: autopsy of the originals in direct and indirect sunlight, with a directed light source in the darkness of the tomb, or with an infrared camera, with and without (p.13) wetting.15 Ultimately all techniques are limited by the amount of ink remaining (or at least leaving a silhouette or imprint) on the writing surface.

In some cases greatly improved readings of the texts were possible, but in other cases the high-quality digital color photographs could not be improved upon. In some cases it was possible to enhance the contrast between the surface of the pottery and the ink by wetting the surface.16 This is especially true where the ink was occluded by a coating or concretion. In other cases wetting had the opposite effect, making the surface dark and reducing the contrast. Generally, on light-colored fabrics wetting provided little benefit.

Collation was able to improve the readings from most of the ostraca; however, cases remained in which the ink was simply lost through fading, abrasion, or chipping and flaking of the underlying surface material (pottery body, slip, or surface coating). During the campaign, several joins of ostracon and papyrus fragments could be made. Also, some previously unnoticed texts were found on the flip sides of sherds and papyrus documents.

A digital video camera with the ability to image in the near infrared spectrum and save snapshots was used on some of the documents as a proof-of-concept experiment.17 The tests show that for ostraca in cases where the carbon-based ink is obscured or encrusted, the contrast improvement can be spectacular, not dissimilar to the use of wetting as a contrast enhancer. Where the ink is lost it provides no advantage, and full-color imagery is preferable. Imaging at 940 nanometers seems to give better results than at 850 nanometers; however, there was insufficient time to explore the topic in depth, and further work in this area is planned for a subsequent season. There was no advantage found in trying to improve the legibility of a small sample of the papyri in this way.

The collation of the papyri produced a mixed outcome because the fragments are so tiny and simply cannot be handled without risk of damage. Some parts hidden in folds were read and some joins were made, but the main work was concentrated on making good-quality scaled photographs of both sides, whether inscribed or not, so that the pattern and condition of the fibers were recorded.18

Overview of the Material

The post-pharaonic textual finds in the excavation documentation originally comprised 162 find numbers for registered ostraca and papyrus fragments from the TT233 excavations. Initially the excavators had (p.14) grouped very small fragments of papyrus, sometimes from unrelated originals, together under one find number, but in the last season (2002), the fragments started to be assigned individual find numbers. To counter the problems arising from this practice, the individual fragments have been differentiated by the addition of a suffix to the serial number assigned to them in the publication database (for example, TT233.547.2).

All of the ostraca consisted of ceramic fragments, most commonly from ribbed amphorae. Due to the practice of writing on the convex part of the ribs, there is a lot of wear associated with the text on this type. Since the bulk of the sherds used are body sherds, dating is difficult, and the ceramic finds as a whole need further study.

There are 109 inscribed sherds from eighty-four ostraca; thirteen of the ostraca are inscribed on both sides; sixteen are restored from multiple sherds. In addition to the ostraca there are ninety-seven inscribed papyrus fragments from not more than sixty-four individual papyri, originally numbered in fifty find numbers; twelve of the papyri are inscribed on both sides; ten are formed from multiple fragments.

Autopsy of the originals allowed the elimination of non-inscribed or pharaonic ostraca from among the material initially identified as post-pharaonic: a hieratic text, a sketch of a pharaonic-style wig, a patterned ceramic, and a decorated jar. Three very small papyrus fragments were also identified as pharaonic: one possibly hieratic and two hieroglyphic funerary papyrus fragments.

The statistics of the finds are themselves interesting: the number of sherds and the number of individual papyri is comparable. No texts on limestone were found. Since papyrus was a premium commodity imported into this area and sherds were of no intrinsic value, this is an indication that writing activities of some importance might have been associated with the site.19 With few exceptions, the papyrus fragments are quite tiny, unrelated, and diverse in character. It is hoped that further investigation, also in collaboration with the Dayr al-Bakhit team, might provide clues on how such a collection could have accumulated in the tomb.

The classification of texts into Greek or Coptic reflects only preliminary assessment. Among the papyri the number of Greek or probable Greek fragments is higher than among the ostraca.

In addition to the ostraca and papyri there is a collection of Coptic graffiti on the northeast wall of the broad hall of TT233 and a crucifix on the southeast wall.

(p.15) Presentation of Documents

Each of the TT233 documents has been entered into a Filemaker Pro database, which has fields for provenance, artifact description, text transcription, translation, commentary, personal and place names, and links to photographs. Each side of the sherd or papyrus is treated as a separate document, with the exception of the newly joined fragments of the same text, which may be treated as single documents.

At the current state of processing, the details of the find sites and the physical descriptions have been recorded, and most of the texts have preliminary transcriptions. Translations have not yet been attempted, although easily identifiable words and passages have been noted in some places. An interesting exercise for the future will be to map the relative locations of fragments of the same document.

The collection of photographs includes the digital color photographs and monochrome film negatives from the excavation seasons, as well as new digital color photographs of joined ostraca and all the papyri from the 2008 season. In addition to this, sherds that were very difficult to read were rephotographed in color, and a collection of diagnostic close-up snapshots was made using the digital video camera in visible and infrared light.

Selected Textual Finds

The ostraca and papyrus fragments are in a very fragmentary state, because they were part of the huge amount of debris in the tomb rather than in a protected cache by themselves. The fragments are small and most of the texts are incomplete. However, many are sufficiently well preserved to be classified according to their textual type. Many letters and some writing exercises could be identified, as is not unusual for the post-pharaonic settlements of the Theban Necropolis. In the following a few examples of the finds will be presented.

The photograph in Figure 2.3 shows a writing exercise in which Andreas the Little practices letter-writing using two different hands or styles. He practices the beginning and concluding formulae of letters, and writes two characters (

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)
) in a larger, more formal hand, reminiscent of page numbers in a literary text. The second hand reads: “It is Andreas the Little who wrote all the words. Farewell in the Lord, my beloved … [pl.]” before running out of space. On the other side of the sherd he practices writing the Greek alphabet. (p.16)
Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Fig. 2.3. Ostracon TT233.227: Writing exercise (photograph: Leonie Donovan).

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Fig. 2.4. Ostracon TT233.511: Writing exercise (photograph: Leonie Donovan).

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)

Fig. 2.5. Ostracon TT233.460: Extract from Romans ch. 14 (photograph: Leonie Donovan).

The photograph in Figure 2.4 shows another writing exercise by “the most humble sinner.” The personal name before

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)
“the Little” can possibly be completed to read “Andreas” again. The fragment is probably from the same ostracon as the joining fragments TT233.226+506+509. It is tempting to assume that Andreas might have been the occupant of this area at a certain time.

The photograph in Figure 2.5 shows a copy of Romans 14:6 (with some preceding text preserved, possibly v. 5), to be identified as a meditation text or a writing exercise written in a fluent hand. Crum suggests that such texts may have been related to the injunction for the monks to pray without ceasing (Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926 , vol. 1: 168–69).

(p.17) The photograph in Figure 2.6 shows a page number of a papyrus book ‘177.’ It may be significant that the person or persons related to this tomb—at some point in time—did have a papyrus codex there.

Conclusion

The floruit of TT233 as a monastic outpost associates it closely with the nearby monastery known as Dayr al-Bakhit. This is an especially likely connection, as TT233 is close to the direct path between the monastery and the closest settlement located in the area of the valley temple of Seti I (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003 : 64–65; Strudwick 2003 : 182; O’Connell 2007 : 245).

The finds fall within the established patterns of smaller hermitage-style settlements in the Theban Necropolis, such as the settlements of the tombs in Shaykh Abd al-Qurna. In spite of the fragmentary state of the finds, a variety of textual types or genres can be identified. There is more than a trace of book culture, documented by physical remains of books, book hands being practiced as a writing exercise, and book hands being written for various purposes. A papyrus fragment contains a list of Old Testament books. The religious milieu is documented by the titles used: Apa, Presbyteros, Brother, Father, and the self-designation

Coptic Textual Finds from the Macquarie University Excavations at Dra Abu Al-naga (TT233)
, ‘most humble,’ which is characteristic of the milieu. There is also a small but relevant number of writing exercises, which again links these finds to the nearby Dayr al-Bakhit complex.

The documents mention a few monks by name, and it is to be hoped that after careful analysis our texts will make a contribution to the understanding of the prosopography and information networks of the Jeme area. Despite the deterioration that the ostraca and papyri have suffered over time, as a group they tell a story about the monks who inhabited this area in the late Roman and early Islamic periods, and their correspondents.

Notes

(1) The field excavations were carried out by the Macquarie University Theban Tombs mission directed by Boyo Ockinga (Ockinga 2000; Ockinga 2002; Ockinga 2007). The research into the Coptic documents is being conducted as part of an Australian Research Council project in collaboration between Heike Behlmer and Malcolm Choat of Macquarie University.

(2) The Nineteenth Dynasty Theban Tomb number TT233 of Saroy and his son Amenhotep/Huy incorporates the Eighteenth Dynasty tomb Kampp no. -183- (Kampp 1996: 512–13; Ockinga 2007: 139).

(p.18) (3) For overviews see Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926, vol. 1: 3–24; Boutros and Décobert 2000. Cf. also Behlmer 2007: 163, 168; Ockinga 2007: 139.

(4) The topography of the Theban Necropolis is well known, but see the regional map of Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926, vol. 1: pl. 1.

(5) Commentary and reproduction in Simpson 2007: 248, pl. 139.

(6) The pottery is the subject of a doctoral dissertation by Thomas Beckh.

(7) The textual finds are being studied by Suzana Hodak as part of a project supported by the German Research Council.

(8) For a summary of previous studies on texts from Dayr al-Bakhit see Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 61; for new textual finds, Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 62–63.

(9) TT233 is located at map reference VII.C3, Kampp 1996.

(10) TT148 has post-pharaonic material remains but does not have the same evidence of Coptic textual finds. The reason for that is not yet clear. One of the questions still to be solved is whether it has been ‘cleansed’ in modern times or whether it had not been settled in the monastic period.

(11) Until the Macquarie University mission's excavations the courtyard was completely overlaid with debris and the tomb was completely filled, with the exception of the broad hall, which was only accessible through the roof (personal observation).

(12) Note that there is a lot of erosion high up on the mountain, which contributes to mixing the finds in the tombs down the slope (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 48).

(13) Excavated by Andrea Gnirs and Elina Grothe and to be published in collaboration with the excavators and a team from the University of Basel.

(14) Work on the ostraca was carried out by Matthew Underwood, research student at Macquarie University, in collaboration with Susanne Binder. Another campaign of collation work on the papyrus fragments and the graffiti was held by Malcolm Choat in December, 2009.

(15) The liquid used was pure alcohol, which, in the desert climate, evaporates rapidly without residue.

(16) The results and limitations of the wetting technique have been described by Crum 1902b: x.

(17) The camera was a ‘MiScope Megapixel IR’ digital microscope from www.zarbeco.com. It was modified to allow the LED lamps to be set at select wavelengths in the visible to near infrared spectrum. Since the imagery is displayed interactively on a laptop computer, manual focusing is easily achieved and the process is simpler than other methods previously described. For the usefulness of near infrared imaging in reading texts on ancient materials, see Bülow-Jacobsen 2008 and Bearman and Spiro 1995.

(p.19) (18) Postgraduate students Ben Slabak and Julien Cooper from Macquarie University assisted with the photography.

(19) On the relative value of writing materials, see, conveniently, Brune 2005: 35. (p.20)

Notes:

(1) The field excavations were carried out by the Macquarie University Theban Tombs mission directed by Boyo Ockinga (Ockinga 2000; Ockinga 2002; Ockinga 2007). The research into the Coptic documents is being conducted as part of an Australian Research Council project in collaboration between Heike Behlmer and Malcolm Choat of Macquarie University.

(2) The Nineteenth Dynasty Theban Tomb number TT233 of Saroy and his son Amenhotep/Huy incorporates the Eighteenth Dynasty tomb Kampp no. -183- (Kampp 1996: 512–13; Ockinga 2007: 139).

(p.18) (3) For overviews see Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926, vol. 1: 3–24; Boutros and Décobert 2000. Cf. also Behlmer 2007: 163, 168; Ockinga 2007: 139.

(4) The topography of the Theban Necropolis is well known, but see the regional map of Winlock, Crum, and Evelyn White 1926, vol. 1: pl. 1.

(5) Commentary and reproduction in Simpson 2007: 248, pl. 139.

(6) The pottery is the subject of a doctoral dissertation by Thomas Beckh.

(7) The textual finds are being studied by Suzana Hodak as part of a project supported by the German Research Council.

(8) For a summary of previous studies on texts from Dayr al-Bakhit see Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 61; for new textual finds, Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 62–63.

(9) TT233 is located at map reference VII.C3, Kampp 1996.

(10) TT148 has post-pharaonic material remains but does not have the same evidence of Coptic textual finds. The reason for that is not yet clear. One of the questions still to be solved is whether it has been ‘cleansed’ in modern times or whether it had not been settled in the monastic period.

(11) Until the Macquarie University mission's excavations the courtyard was completely overlaid with debris and the tomb was completely filled, with the exception of the broad hall, which was only accessible through the roof (personal observation).

(12) Note that there is a lot of erosion high up on the mountain, which contributes to mixing the finds in the tombs down the slope (Burkard, Mackensen, and Polz 2003: 48).

(13) Excavated by Andrea Gnirs and Elina Grothe and to be published in collaboration with the excavators and a team from the University of Basel.

(14) Work on the ostraca was carried out by Matthew Underwood, research student at Macquarie University, in collaboration with Susanne Binder. Another campaign of collation work on the papyrus fragments and the graffiti was held by Malcolm Choat in December, 2009.

(15) The liquid used was pure alcohol, which, in the desert climate, evaporates rapidly without residue.

(16) The results and limitations of the wetting technique have been described by Crum 1902b: x.

(17) The camera was a ‘MiScope Megapixel IR’ digital microscope from www.zarbeco.com. It was modified to allow the LED lamps to be set at select wavelengths in the visible to near infrared spectrum. Since the imagery is displayed interactively on a laptop computer, manual focusing is easily achieved and the process is simpler than other methods previously described. For the usefulness of near infrared imaging in reading texts on ancient materials, see Bülow-Jacobsen 2008 and Bearman and Spiro 1995.

(p.19) (18) Postgraduate students Ben Slabak and Julien Cooper from Macquarie University assisted with the photography.

(19) On the relative value of writing materials, see, conveniently, Brune 2005: 35. (p.20)