The Egyptian archaeological mission of the Ministry of Antiquities unearthed ruins of a residential area, churches and monasteries dating back to the Coptic era 1,500 years ago.
Ayman Ashmawi, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department at the ministry said that the new discovery was found near the Coptic cemetery in Bahnasa city in Minya governorate.
Gamal al-Samtawi, director of the Antiquities of Central Egypt, said that the tombs date to the fifth century AD and contain a group of burial chambers about 70x50 meters.
He added that the residential area spans an area about 120 x 100 meters and the remains indicate that the archaeological structure at the Coptic cemetery was a complex for monks, where they also found a group of mascots and a water well.
Al-Samastawi confirmed that the archaeological excavations began in 2008. The mission succeeded in uncovering the remains a church from the 5th century. It has a hall, a main prayer hall and some rooms with covered walls with colorful decorations, writings and songs in Coptic Egyptian bearing the name of St. Phippamon.
Pointing out that this building was destroyed during the state of security chaos following the revolution of January 25, 2011.
Jamal Ahmed Mohammed, director general of Antiquities in Maghagha, that the mission completed the excavation in 2013, where the remains of walls made of soft bricks were found, a prayer room and a room for a monk, a dining room, kitchen and a storage area - all with crosses decorating the walls.
In addition, the lower part of the tomb of a priest was discovered at a depth of 6.3 meters and a diameter of about 3 meters. Some coins and artifacts found at the site were sent to the museum stores for restoration and study.
The city of Bahnasa is located on the western bank of the Nile near the city of Bani Mazar north of Minya province, and was known in the Hellenistic times as Oxernhos.
During the Islamic era, the city of Bahnasa was named after “Bahaa Al Nesaa”, the daughter of the city's governor at the time of the Islamic conquest.