Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Monks, Camels, and Wine

Category: General
Monks, Camels, and Wine

Monks, Camels, and Wine

Since 2009/10, I have been studying the corpus of texts written at the monastery of Apa Thomas at Wadi Sarga, a valley ca. 25 km south of modern Asyut in central Egypt. In 2013, I held a British Museum Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, in order to study and photograph the published and unpublished items from the site that bear writing on them, whether in ink or incised, and whether labels or longer documents. From the beginning of 2015, I began a Fellowship at the University of Copenhagen. The main focus of my research here is the monastery at Wadi Sarga, about its history and its day-to-day life, including its organisation, administration, economy, and relationship with near and distant communities. My work is based on the written record that survives from the site, but work on other material from the monastery is currently being studied (as part of a larger project at the British Museum) and provides vital context for the textual evidence.
I have created this blog in order to talk about aspects of my work as it progresses, whether thoughts on the material, upcoming events, or new publications, for example. I have several thoughts that I’m playing around with, which need to be mulled over before they are suitable for publication. The role of camels and wine at the monastery particularly interest me, because they occur so frequently in the material itself – hence the name of this blog. I hope that other people – whether working on monasticism in Egypt or elsewhere, interested in wine, wine production, and land management, or simply curious about the whole thing – will find something of interest amongst these pages.
For further information on the image above (one of the few complete vessels from Wadi Sarga: British Museum EA 73196), see its entry on the British Museum’s online catalogue here.