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Artefact ID716
TM IDTM 397771
Findspot (DEChriM ID)15   (al-Baǧawāt)
ClassFunerary element, Textual
Writing mediumDipinto
Text contentSubliterary

SEG LIII 1979 (1-14): Labels accompanying paintings in the dome of the "Chapel of the Exodos".

This chapel is unique in the necropolis, the whole interior is painted with scenes from the Old Testament, the largest one being a detailed representation of the Exodus which fills the whole circle.

Painted labels, written in an informal uncial, allow the identification of the figures (Cipriano 2003): 1) Φαραώ; Ἐρυθρά; Ἰσραηλεῖται; Μωυσε̃ς; Ἰοθόρ (252); 2) Ἱε[ρο]υσαλήμ; [Ἱε]ρε-[μ]ίας (257); 3) Νῶε; κιβωτός (258); 4) Ζωή (Eva); Ἀ[δά]μ (260); 5) Δανιήλ ἐν λάκκῳ (262); 6) κάμινος (265); 7) Ἠσαΐας (266); 8) Ῥεμβέκα (=Ῥεβέκα; 268); 9) Ἰωνᾶς; κῆτος (270); 10) [Ἰώ]β (272); 11) Σουσάννα; Δα[νιήλ] (274); 12) Ἀβρ[α]άμ (275); 13) ποιμήν (276/277); 14) Θέκλα; παρθένοι (278-280).

The commissioners spoke Greek and knew the Septuagint, as is clear especially from the precise correspondence of the terms Ζωή, Ἐρυθρά and κιβωτός with that text (285).

The four walls of the chapel are in the form of arches and the pendentives are occupied by the representation of crosses in the form of crux ansata. Later some Greek crosses were added to them.

Selection criteriaChristian symbols/gestures/isopsephy, Biblical quote or paraphrase
Date from300
Date to399
Dating criteria

Iconography and archaeological context. Recently dated to (early) 4th c. by Bowen 2014 (as in Fakhry 1951).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Chapel no. 30 belongs to the oldest type (type 4) according to Fakhry's classification (1951: 39).

Accession number

Al-Baǧawāt, in situ (Chapel no. 30 / Chapel of the Exodus).


• Bowen, Gillian. 2014. "The crux ansata in early Christian iconography: evidence from Dakhleh and Kharga oases." In Le myrte et la rose, ed. G. Tallet and Ch. Zivie-Coche. Montpellier, 292-303.

• Chaniotis, A., Corsten, T., Stroud, R.S. and Tybout, R.A. 2003. “SEG 53-1979. Khargeh Oasis (area of el-Bagawat). Labels accompanying paintings in a Christian tomb. 4th cent. A.D.” In Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Current editors: A.T.E.N. Chaniotis Corsten Stavrianopolou Papazarkadas. Consulted online on 22 July 2021.

• Cipriano, Giuseppina. 2003. "El-Bagawat. Un cimitero paleocristiano nell'alto Egitto". Rivista di archeologia cristiana (RAC) 79, 133-168.

• De Bock, W. 1901. Matériaux pour servir à l’archeologie de l’Egypte chrétienne. St. Petersburg.

• Fakhry, Ahmed. 1951. The Necropolis of El-Bagawat in Kharga Oasis. Cairo: Government press, 39-66.

• Guarducci, M. 1978. Epigrafia Greca IV. Rome, 461-464.

• Riddle, F. 1983. "Frescoes in Dakhleh and Khargeh Oases." In New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity 3, ed. G.H.R. Horsley, 162-164 (§106).

• Zibawi, Mahmoud. 2005. Bagawat. Peintures paléochrétiennes d'Egypte. Paris, 95-132.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 716", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
External links