Naj Al-Hajar

NAJ AL-HAJAR

Site on the of the Nile about 10 miles (15 km) north of Aswan. A few years ago in the course of excavations carried out by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization in the area between the edge of the town and the bank of the Nile, ruins of a camp were discovered. They can be dated, on the basis of a few inscribed blocks of stone found on the site, to the first century A.D., the period of the emperor Vespasian. On the west side there came to light a fine gate flanked by semicircular towers and decorated with engaged columns.

In the period, after the abandonment of the camp, a small basilica was erected. A section of the and a number of column bases were found in situ in the southwest corner. The walls were constructed first of fired but later of hewn stone. In front of the was the presbytery, which probably accommodated the altar. It extended to the first (eastern) pair of columns, and was surrounded by lateral walls, with cancelli at the front. A small annex building on the northwest corner with a crux monogrammatica in the floor presumably contained a tomb.

PETER GROSSMANN