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Place names
Arabicجبل طارف
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Site information
DEChriM ID59
Trismegistos GeoID61705
Pleiades ID-
Ancient name-
Modern nameǦabal Ṭārif
Date from-250
Date to499
Dating criteria

Radiocarbon dating; ceramic analysis.


This is a particularly obscure site of which very little is known. It has only been mentioned briefly in two publications, in which it is referred to simply as the ‘Stone Church’ (Warner 2018, fig. 409 and fig. 415; Ikram et al. 2020: 323-324). The structure was identified and mapped by N. Warner in 2011 as part of the North Kharga Oasis Survey (Warner 2018: 481). It is located north-east of the cluster of monasteries around Ǧabal al-Ṭayr (ʿAyn Ǧallāl, ʿAyn Saʿaf East, Dayr al-Baǧawāt and Dayr Muṣṭafā Kāšif), in the Ǧabal Ṭārif, along the trajectory of a western deviation of the Darb al-Arbaʿīn, which continues north to Umm al-Dabādīb. The area in which the site is situated is currently, and was perhaps also in antiquity, an alum quarry. Identifiable on the ground are: a church made of limestone rubble and some associated structures, both built and semi-excavated in the substrate, as well as a number of tombs and caves in the surrounding hills. Additionally, there are numerous craters throughout the area, particularly to the east of the church, which are perhaps pit burials, as well as at least one tomb dug into the gebel in the flat area to the south of the church. In the same sector, a few meters to further south of this pit, there is a north-south oriented semi-excavated space, the western wall of which is constructed from large stone blocks, while the easten wall is cut into the geological substrate.

Archaeological research

The site was identified and a plan was made of the church in 2011 as part of the North Kharga Oasis Survey. The site does not appear in any other publications, and it has never been excavated. Members of the DEChriM team conducted a surface analysis of pottery and obtained samples for radiocarbon analysis in February 2021.


• Ikram, S., G. Tallet and N. Warner. 2020. “A Mineral for All Seasons: Alum in the Great Oasis.” In Dust, Demons and Pots. Studies in Honour of Colin A. Hope, edited by A. Warfe, J. C. R. Gill, C. R. Hamilton, A. K. Pettman and D. A. Stewart, 317-333. Leuven, Paris, Bristol: Peeters.
• Ikram, S., N. Warner, N. Lazaridis, L. A. Warden, R. Cook, C. Boyer and J. Bunbury. 2021. “A “Late Antique” Mining Community in the North Kharga Oasis (Egypt).” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 57: 123-153.
• Warner, N. 2018. “Christian Architecture in North Kharga.” In North Kharga Oasis Survey. Explorations in Egypt’s Western Desert, edited by C. Rossi and S. Ikram, 479-493. Leuven, Paris, Bristol: Peeters.

Rhiannon Williams , Victor Ghica , 2021
Suggested citation
Rhiannon Williams , Victor Ghica , 2021, "Ǧabal Ṭārif", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
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© Idāra al-misāḥa al-ʿaskariyya, 1998
© V. Ghica, 2021
© P. Collet, NKODAAS, 2021
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