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DEChriM (“Deconstructing Early Christian Metanarratives: Fourth-Century Egyptian Christianity in the Light of Material Evidence”) is a six-year project supported by an ERC Consolidator Grant, running from 2019 to 2024.

The project focuses on the material culture of fourth-century Christianity in Egypt, with the aim of re-examining the development of the religion in this key geo-chronological setting.

Based at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, in Oslo, the project brings together specialists in archaeology, papyrology and epigraphy (Greek, Coptic and Syriac), ceramic studies, digital humanities, 3D architectural reconstructions, topography and photogrammetry. DEChriM is led by Prof. Victor Ghica.


Two major components of the project’s outcomes are the 4CARE and SKOS archaeological repositories, for which this website acts as a host. Both databases present geo-referenced datasets relating to the archaeological sites studied by DEChriM.
While general updates of the DEChriM project will be presented here, the main purpose of the website is to provide a foundation for these two databases.


4CARE is the largest component of the DEChriM project. The database compiles archaeological and artefactual (both textual and non-textual) attestations of Christianity in fourth-century Egypt, and is intended as an exhaustive resource for the study of fourth-century Christian material culture. Each site is geo-referenced and internally linked with associated material evidence, movable or immovable. The Christian context and material components of the site are explained, and a concise history of the archaeological investigations is presented.


The SKOS gazetteer brings together in a digital format the results of the South Kharga Oasis Survey. A fifteen-year project, funded by the Institut français dʼarchéologie orientale (IFAO) in Cairo, SKOS is the most detailed extensive archaeological survey carried out in Egypt. SKOS became part of DEChriM in 2020 and our project took over the organisation and publication of this vast surveyʼs data. The gazetteer hosted here contains 290 sites, of which 266 are located in the southern part of Kharga, and 3164 sub-sites.


Both our databases provide geopositioning information for all archaeological sites described therein. Sub-sites are documented through both cartography (topographic or situation maps) and photographs. In addition, 4CARE contains 3D models – either photogrammetric or architectural reconstructions – of representative built structures: complexes, individual monuments or parts thereof. Conceived as a relational database, 4CARE comprises also artefacts dated or datable to the fourth century, most of which are associated with sites included in the gazetteer part of 4CARE.


DEChriM comprises several work packages covering a variety of activities, from collection of raw data through excavations, field surveys, or study of artefacts in museum collections or local inspectorates of antiquities, to organising and studying the archaeological record of fourth-century Christian Egypt. Addressing interdependently both material and non material Christian culture, our team engages in a variety on fields: Greek and Coptic papyrology and epigraphy, settlement and funerary archaeology, ceramology, Manichaean studies, Roman frontier studies, history of monasticism, etc.

  • Romain David joins DEChriM

        Our project warmly welcomes Romain David, who is now in charge of DEChriM’s ceramic work-package. Romain specialises in the pottery of......

  • Kharga Oasis excavations

        In October and November, our project’s team and collaborators carried out fieldwork on several sites in Kharga Oasis. While concentrating on......

  • Team reshuffle

        Aaltje Hidding, Alexandra Konstantinidou and Håkon Teigen joined our team. While Aaltje will concentrate on the socioeconomic profiles of the communities......

  • Press coverage of our last excavation season at Ganub Qasr al-Aguz

        Following the official press release made by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the results of DEChriMʼs last excavation season at......

  • Bahriyya, Dakhla and Kharga

        In February, we returned to Bahriyya with two custom made tarpaulins which we offered to the local inspectors for covering two......

  • Sofia Heim joins DEChriM

        Our team will benefit for several months from Sofia Heimʼs expertise in Greek papyrology and databases. Together with Valérie, she will......