DAYR AL-NAMUS (Armant). [This is a two-part article, including history and architecture.]
About 6 miles (9 km) northwest of Armant in the stony desert, one comes upon a fairly wide field of ruins designated as Dayr al- Namus by the people of the region. The term dayr makes one think of an establishment of monks, but on the spot one can see only "the remains of several series of large buildings, some of which had more than one story" (Doresse, 1949, p. 343). From the neighboring cemetery come numerous Coptic funerary stelae, which in the museums are marked as deriving from Armant (according to Daressy, 1914, p. 270).
The ancient name of the site is not known. One may deduce from the Coptic stelae, which testify to ancient Coptic art, that the site was founded in the Byzantine era.
The atlas of the Description de l'Egypte names it Kharab al-Namus (Jomard, 1821, fol. 5). The exact geographical situation was given by R. Mond and O. H. Myers (1937, Vol. 1, pl. 2). O. Meinardus described the site briefly (1977, p. 435).
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.
Dayr al-Namus is a complex of ruins situated on the edge of the desert northwest of Armant, also called simply Dayr Namus by the local population. A considerable number of Coptic stelae (Daressy, 1914) came from the vicinity of this site and are now preserved in the Coptic Museum in Cairo. A number of generally one-room buildings that are laid out close together at right angles can be identified. They have a fairly regular arrangement of windows and niches on both sides. In the northeast, a larger building stands that consists of several rooms of this sort. One can hardly fail to recognize these structures as living quarters for the monks of a cenobite monastery. A few outcrops of a wall situated on the outskirts also indicate that the area was originally walled in. However, no remains of a building that may be regarded as a church have been recognized.
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