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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Kellia, or "the Cells," was a Coptic Monastery located in the northwest Delta. Dating from the mid-4th century CE when it was founded by St. Amun, the site was used until its abandonment in the 9th century. The monks who lived at Kellia were cenobitic, meaning they chose to enter into, and interact with, a religious community (in comparison to the monks who chose to live alone in the deserts as eremites). The cenobitic lifestyle is thus reflected in the layout of the site. Kellia includes over 1500 "monastic structures," ranging from the earliest simple dwellings for 1-2 monks to later constructions of elaborate communal spaces, including large assembly spaces for visitors and pilgrims. These structures are grouped, separated into living areas and worship spaces, showing that, while monks would live alone or in small groups, they would still gather together as one cohesive group to pray. The site was excavated in the mid-1960s.

Posted at Nov 30/2010 03:54PM:
ian: Consider what its popularity as a way of life indicates about the social climate. Its location as well suggests that it might offer something of a compromise between the ermitic and cenobitic poles of monasticism.