Coptic Egypt

Coptic Monastery Multi-Media Database Project

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Click on above image to access the project leaflet



To develop a fully multi-media database of the Coptic monasteries of Egypt, producing a fully searchable and interactive catalogue of the monastic sites.


By developing such a database, which will include full text descriptions, photographs and video, the end result would be an ideal and important tool for retrieval of archaeological records and for Coptic research in general.


New: Satellite images and photographs of the Coptic monastic sites in Egypt in conjunction with the Coptic database

Update - Power Point Presentation as shown at the 2007 Current Research in Egypt conference - Swansea University- Introduction to the Coptic Database - Click mouse to advance each slide

Link here for the related Power Point Presentation notes




While in recent years Coptic studies witnessed a remarkable progress especially in monastic art, actual monastic site documentation appears to have been sadly lacking. It is with this consideration in mind the idea of the design and development of the Coptic Multi-Media Database was born.


There are a considerable number of Coptic monasteries distributed throughout mainly desert areas in Egypt, some in ruinous condition, and indeed a large number possibly never documented at all. However, many of these monasteries contain extremely rare and important architectural and archaeological elements, such as ancient wall paintings, icons and unique carvings.


It is extremely important that these sites be systematically documented and recorded, and while a few have been excavated over the years, a system whereby the resulting pooled information may be accessed alongside interactive visual multi media documentation, has, until now, not been available.


To this end, it was proposed in 2007 to instigate the design and development of such a database, which was based on the design of the Akhmim project (1997)1


By developing such a database, which includes; full text descriptions, photographs and video, satellite imagery, exact GPS coordinates, bibliographies and complete descriptions of the art and architectural elements, the end result would be a unique and important tool for the retrieval (and reconstruction) of archaeological records of Monastic sites.


With the cooperation of Coptic researchers and associated organisations, the end result would not only greatly improve and enhance our understanding of the Coptic heritage, but also provide vital and essential data towards the preservation and restoration of important Monastic sites, thus maintaining a credible resource for the continuation of Coptic culture.


Howard Middleton-Jones

1 Howard Middleton-Jones 1997 The Akhmim Project. The Analytical Catalogue of Material from the Late Period Cemeteries of Akhmim in Upper Egypt.


Our 2005 trip already has provided much visual documentation, such as high quality filming of a number of monasteries and the rare wall paintings of St Gabriel in the Fayoum area.


Advantages of the Coptic Database Project


  • To pool resources and data into one major location
  • To enable rapid search and find to generate reports
  • To enable map generation and overlays of Monastic site distribution
  • To provide accurate geographical locations of sites
  • As a major source of references and bibliographies
  • To access multi-media film, photographs and satellite imaging
  • To provide vital data and information from excavation reports
  • As a tool for the retrieval of reports to aid preservation and conservation
  • To enhance our understanding of the Coptic culture and promote the Coptic heritage


The project is already underway and regular progress bulletins will be posted - if anyone wishes to contribute to the database in anyway, and possesses material for inclusion, please contact me

The Akhmim Project

Email Howard MJ