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Place names
Egyptian Ỉwn(y) | Ỉwnw-Šmʿ | Ỉwnw-Mnṯw | Ỉwn-Mnṱ | Pr-Mnṯw | Pr-Mnṱ
GreekἙρμωνθις | Ἑρμονθις | Ἐρεσβυθος
LatinHermunthus | Hermuntis
Coptic(e)rmont | ermenti | (e)rmant | axrhmnt | armon | rmont
EnglishArmant | Erment | Hermonthis
FrenchErmant | Armant | Arment | Erment
Site map
Site information
DEChriM ID79
Trismegistos GeoID812
Pleiades ID786036
PAThs ID70
Ancient nameHermōnthis
Modern nameArmant
Date from301
Date to800
Dating criteria


The site of Hermōnthis, ancient Armant, is situated 9km south-west of Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile. It was a nome capital from the 18th Dynasty until the Roman Period and was the main city of the god Montu. A temple dedicated to the god – the foundations of which can be dated back to the Middle and New Kingdoms –, is one of the main built features of the site (Zignani 2014). During the reign of Cleopatra VII and her son Ptolemy XV, a mammisi was built in honour of the Rattawy and his son Harpa-the-child. To the north of the city, on the desert edge, is located a Bucheum, the burial place of the Buchis bulls, also sacred to Montu, which were interred here from the time of Nektanebo II until the middle of the fourth century (Grenier 1983). The latter was the first feature of the site to have been archaeologically investigated after interest in the area arose due to illicit diggings during World War I (see Archaeological Research below).


The site was the seat of a bishopric since at least the beginning of the fourth century (Worp 1994: 299-300), and was once home to a large, five-aisled basilica, the construction of which is considered to date to the fifth century (Grossmann 2002: 458-459, fig. 74). The structure, as well as the mammisi, was dismantled in 1861-2 in order to construct a sugar factory (Baedeker 1928: 346). Fortunately, the layout of both structures is relatively well documented thanks to the drawings and photographs of various European travelers as well as Napoleon’s savants (eg. Pococke 1743: 111 pl. 44; Jomard 1821: 437 pl. 97, 6; 97, 8. For a discussion of the inconsistencies between the depictions of the church, see Grossmann 1986). This structure served the inhabitants of a late antique settlement which had developed in around the New Kingdom pylon and in the main courtyard of the temple of Montu (Mond and Myers 1940, 36-39, pls iv, xii-xiv). Based on ceramic, glass, and numismatic evidence, the occupation of this settlement was originally considered to be limited roughly to a single century, from c. 285 until 395 (Mond and Myers 1934a: 85, 96, 115-116, 183), with recent examination of the ceramic coming from stratigraphic excavation attesting to a date spanning from the fourth through to the eighth century (David 2012).


Aside from the now destroyed basilica, and a “Byzantine” period Coptic chapel (Sadek 1981), material evidence of the Christian faith at the site exists predominantly in the form of funerary stelae, written in both Coptic and in Greek (Mond and Myers 1937: 260-263), including the three present in the database. Two of these three objects were bought on the antiquities market, but the third is concretely associated with the site, having been recovered during excavations of a cemetery in the 1980s (El-Sayed et al. 1988). Other, late stelae attest to a strong monastic presence at the site, with several female names seemingly attesting also to female monasticism (Timm 1984-1992: 156-157). For an overview of the monastic sites in the surrounds of Armant, see Grossmann 2007.

Archaeological research

While conducting excavations in the vicinity of the Tomb of Ramose in the Theban cemetery in the spring of 1926, Sir Robert Ludwig Mond was informed by the rais Moussa Absel Malu and Sheikh Omar of material retrieved during illicit works conducted during the First World War in the area of Armant, on the edge of the cultivation (Mond and Myers 1934a: ix). Concession of the site was obtained, and excavations began the following year under the auspices of Mond. Work was first directed by Walter Bryan Emery until 1928 when the Egyptian Exploration Society (EES) overtook financial responsibility of the site. At the same time, the directorship passed to Henry Frankfort (1928-1929), then Frederick William Green (1929-1930), and finally to Oliver Humphreys Myers who maintained responsibility for work at the site until excavations ceased (1931-1938). The results of the work of the EES can be found in the volumes co-authored by Robert Mond and Oliver Myers (Mond and Myers 1934a, b, c; 1937; 1940).


Several missions were conducted at the site by the local inspectorate starting in November of 1967 when Hechmat Adib, an inspector at Edfu, spent two days clearing a small part of kom in Halim-Simatos – denoted Armant al-Heit –, revealing fragments of columns and other architectural elements. From April 20th to May 5th,  1972, A. A. I. Sadek continued work at the site, under the direction of A. al-Taher, revealing a structure which was interpreted as a Coptic chapel constructed atop of an earlier Roman-period structure (Sadek 1981). In 1973, a set of inscribed architectural blocks belonging to a gate of Ptolemy Philometer were studied by inspector A. Farid (Farid 1979), with the same scholar coming to conduct clearance work in the temple in 1980 (Farid 1983a; id 1983b). In 1983, between November 9th-30th, a season was dedicated to the excavation of a cemetery situated north-west of the village of Ezbet Abou Daghar where Coptic-period burials were identified (El-Sayed et al. 1988). A Coptic tombstone attributable to the fourth century was retrieved during the latter mission and is the only one of the three objects of relevance for which the archaeological context is known. Also in 1983, a survey dedicated to the prehistoric contexts of the area between Armant and Medinet Habu was instigated by the German Archaeological Institute. In the following year, work continued in cooperation with the University of Warsaw, and a third season was then conducted in 1986 (Ginter et al. 1988; Lityńska 1993; Pawlikowski 1993). Between 1992 and 1993, M. al-Badri Rushi and M. Fakouri Backhoum resumed the clearance work in the temple, revealing decorated crypts, though this work was never subject to publication (Thiers and Volokhine 2005: 3).


Inspired by the discovery of the decorated crypts, an epigraphic survey of the Armant temple was conducted by Christophe Thiers and Youri Volokhine in February of 2002, with a second and third mission conducted by Thiers alone in February and December of 2003; this work resulted in a monograph dedicated to the crypt texts (Thiers and Volokhine 2005). From 2004 until 2009, a more extensive project was conducted at the site, under the auspices of IFAO and CNRS-University Paul-Valéry Montpellier, directed by Thiers, the intention of which was to carry out a more holistic study the ancient remains of Armant. This included the architectural, topographic, and epigraphic analysis of the ruins of the main temple of the god Montu, the documentation of architectural blocks scattered throughout the site, as well as a program of restoration and conservation (Thiers 2022).


Select bibliography
• David, R. 2012. “Ermant aux époques byzantine et arabe. L’apport de la céramique.” Bulletin de la céramique égyptienne 23: 209-217.

• Farid, A. 1979. “New Ptolemaic Blocks from Rub'-el-Maganin-Armant.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo 35: 59-74, pls. 12-15.
• Farid, A. 1983a. “A Preliminary Report on the Clearance of the Temple of Monthu and Re’it-Taui at Armant.” Orientalia Antiqua 22: 67-72.
• Farid, A. 1983b. “Two New Kingdom Statues from Armant.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo 39: 59-69.
• Bingen, J. 1989. “Epitaphes chrétiennes grecques d’Hermonthis.”Chronique d'Égypte64: 365-367.
• Crum, W. E. 1902.Coptic Monuments (CGC), no. 8566 (p. 121 with pl. XXIX).Osnabrück: Otto Zeller.
• El-Sayed Hegazy, A., R. El-Badry and P. Martinez. 1988. “A Preliminary Report on the Excavation at Hagir Armant.”Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Abteilung Kairo  44: 117-119 with pl. 32-33.
• Ginter, B., J. K. Kozłowski, M. Lityńska and P. Pawlikowski. 1989. “Field Report from the Excavation of the Sites MA 21/83 and MA 21a/83 near Armant in Upper Egypt in 1986.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo 44: 95-104.
• Grossmann, P. 1986. “Zum Grundriß der Basilika von Armant (Hermonthis).” In Studien zur spätantiken und byzantinischen Kunst.: Friedrich Wilhelm Deichmann gewidmet, vol. I, edited by O. Feld and U. Preschlow, 143-153. Bonn: R. Habelt.

• Grossmann, P. 2002. Christliche Architektur in Ägypten, 458-9 fig. 74. Leiden: Brill.
• Grossmann, P. 2007. “Spätantike und frühmittelalterliche Baureste im Gebiet von Ermant. Ein archäologischer Survey.” Journal of Coptic Studies 9: 1-20.

• Keene, C. H. 1892. “On a Stone with a Greek Inscription (Early Christian) from Upper Egypt.”In Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1889-1901), Vol. 2, 295-298, with pl. XI.
• Lityńska, M. 1993. “Plant Remains from the Neolithic Site at Armant: Preliminary Report.” In Environmental Change and Human Culture in the Nile Basin and Northern Africa Until the Second Millennium B.C., edited by L. Krzyzaniak, M. Kobusiewicz and J. Alexander, 351-354. Poznań: Poznań Archaeological Museum.

• Myers, O. H. and H. W. Fairman 1931. “Excavations at Armant, 1929-31.”Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 17, 3: 223-232.
• Myers, O. H. 1932. “Armant Excavations 1931-1932.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo 3: 162.
• Mond, R. and O. H. Myers. 1934a. The Bucheum I: The History and Archaeology of the Site. London: The Egypt Exploration Society. 
• Mond, R. and O. H. Myers. 1934b. The Bucheum II: The Inscriptions. London: The Egypt Exploration Society. 
• Mond, R. and O. H. Myers. 1934c. The Bucheum III: The Plates. London: The Egypt Exploration Society. 
• Mond, R. and O. H. Myers. 1937. Cemeteries of Armant, 2 vols. London: The Egypt Exploration Society. 
• Mond, R. and O. H. Myers. 1940. Temples of Armant: A Preliminary Survey, 2 vols. London: The Egypt Exploration Society.
• Pawlikowski, M. 1993. “Minerology of the Nile Valley Sediments as an Indicator of Changes of Climate: The Armant-Luxor Area, Upper Egypt.” In Environmental Change and Human Culture in the Nile Basin and Northern Africa Until the Second Millennium B.C., edited by L. Krzyzaniak, M. Kobusiewicz and J. Alexander, 355-357. Poznań: Poznań Archaeological Museum.

• Sadek, A. A. I. 1981. “Rapport de fouilles effectuées à Armant (1972). Réutilisation d’un lieu de culte égyptien tardif pour une chapelle copte, aux IVe-VIe à Armant.” Oriens Antiquus 20: 223-227, pl. XX-XXIV.
• Thiers, C. 2022. Ermant II. Bab el-Maganîn. Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale.

• Thiers, C. and Y. Volokhine. 2005. Ermant I. Les cryptes du temple ptolemaïque : étude épigraphique. Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale.
• Timm, S. ed. 1984-1992. Das Christliche-Koptische Ägypten in Arabischer Zeit: Eine Sammlung Christicher Stätten in Ägypten in Arabischer Zeit unter Ausschyss von Alexandria, Kairo, des Apa-Mena-Klosters (Der Abu Mina), der Sketis (Wadi n-Natrun) und der Sinai-Region. Vol. I (Armant), 152-182. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert.
• Zignani, P. 2014. “L’architecture du temple de Montu à Ermant. Essai d’approche typologique et proportion du plan.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 114: 589-606.


Victor Ghica, Rhiannon Williams, 2021
Suggested citation
Victor Ghica, Rhiannon Williams, 2021, "Armant", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,