Digital Preservation: laser scanning at the White Monastery (Dayr Anbā Shinūda) in Sohag

The 5th century White Monastery church is among the oldest surviving Christian monuments in Egypt. Two sections of masonry in a critical condition at the west end of the church were consolidated in February 2015 with AEF funding. A full condition survey is a necessary prerequisite for a more sustained conservation program for the larger site Project Director: Stephen Davis

The project scope was to scan the White Monastery church and its adjacent archaeological area to provide the best possible record of existing conditions prior to the implementation of larger conservation and site management objectives. This record also offers a visible means of monitoring various structural cracks and deformations in the church that are of great concern to the monks and local SCA personnel responsible for its care. The most accurate method of data-collection is presently 3D laser scanning, which has immense and proven value in planning and executing physical interventions. The accurate measurements contained in this 3D ‘condition report’ can be the foundation for ongoing monitoring by people on the ground (SCA/monks) and will encourage them to take some aspects of conservation stewardship into their own hands while continuing to liaise with YMAP. It is also an indispensable tool for professional conservators and local stakeholders to monitor and evaluate change as well as allowing innovative presentations to non-specialists. The 2015 project that used this technique at the nearby Red Monastery Church has been awarded the 2018 Medieval Academy of America Digital Humanities Prize. This proposal is to carry out a similar digital preservation project at the White Monastery that includes both the church and surrounding archaeology.

Project Details


Location: Sohag, Egypt, Northern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Yale University Funder(s): American Research Center in Egypt - Antiquities Endowment Fund Grant Funding received: $99,341 Commencement Date: 01/2019 Project Status: Completed
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