Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Modern Library Opens at Ancient Monastery

Thursday, July 18, 2013

(Lumen roman, via Wikimedia Commons)WADI EL NATRUN, EGYPT—A new library building has opened at the Coptic monastery of Deir al-Surian. Established in the sixth century, the current structure dates to the tenth century. Its 1,000 bound manuscripts and 1,500 manuscript fragments in Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic had been stored in a ninth-century tower. The new building includes a reading room, a display area, conservation facilities, and basement storage, all with modern security and environmental controls. Some of the earliest texts in the collection date to the fifth century.