About 6 miles (10 km) from the town of Aswan on the left bank of the Nile are the ruins of a Coptic monastery of the sixth or seventh century, excavated by the Vienna Academy of Sciences. It was named after the neighboring village of al-Kubaniyyah (the Mountain of Isis). It is also called Dayr al-Shaykah, but the primitive name of this monastery is not known. The seven Coptic inscriptions were published by the archaeologists H. Junker and H. Demel (1922). One may consult with profit the reviews of De L. O’Leary (1923; 1924). The site was briefly described by O. Meinardus (1965, p. 327; 1977, p. 443).
- Junker, H., and H. Demel. Das Kloster am Isisberg. Akademie der Wissenschaften. Vienna, 1922.
- Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed., 1977.
- O’Leary, De L. Review of Junker and Demel work above. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 9 (1923): 233.
- . Review of Junker and Demel work above. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 56 (1924): 309-310.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.
Since being uncovered in the winter of 1910-1911 by H. Junker, the site has again been completely covered by sand. Particularly important is the church, which is an octagon-domed building of a type otherwise known only in Greece. A brick dome with a span of 23 feet (7 m) is carried by a substructure consisting of eight supports linked by a continuous circle of arches. An ambulatory surrounds this central structure on three sides, in the manner of side aisles.
On the east side are the khurus (room between the naos and the sanctuary); the three-part sanctuary, with a rectangular altar chamber and two rectangular side chambers in the middle; and two further longitudinal rooms at the sides. On the west a projecting structure accommodates several side rooms and a staircase leading upward. The remaining subsidiary buildings, which were probably shelter for the monks, are unimportant. An outer wall was not identified, although there certainly must have been one. In the same way, there is no indication of the location of the ancillary buildings.
- Grossmann, P. Mittelalterliche Langhauskuppelkirchen und verwandte Typen in Oberägypten, pp. 34ff. Glückstadt, 1982.
- Junker, H., and H. Demel. Das Kloster am Isisberg. Akademic der Wissenschaften. Vienna, 1922.
- Monneret de Villard, U. Il monastero di S. Simeone presso Aswân, Vol. 1, pp. 45ff. Milan, 1927.