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  • Collection: The Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project (DMEAP)

98 Items

A fragment of glazed ceramic

This fragment was the only evidence of high-status highly decorated ceramic found at Dayr Mar Elian - which was a contrast from the high-status ceramics that were found at Mar Musa - there was not enough evidence to discern whether the fragment was a decorative motif or formed part of an elaborate inscription.

Type: Archaeological Find
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This bowl was donated to DMEAP by a local family to be placed in the small museum that was set up in the monastery to display finds with the agreement of the DGAM.

Type: Portable Object
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Byzantine Reliquaries

The damaged remains of two Byzantine reliquaries were found during the excavations at Dayr Mar Elian. The lid of one replicates a Roman sarcophagus and the other piece is a base of a different size decorated with a motif of ringed circles.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Chains in front of the altar in the Church of Mar Elian

The local people believe that Mar Elian is able to cure mental illness and until the recent past it was usual to chain those suffering with such an illness in the church for three nights. The chains were left in place until the dismantling of the 1938 church in 2004. The practice of sleeping in the church for three nights to pray for healing was continuing at the time that these pictures were taken, but the chains were not used.

Type: Ethnographic information/Social History
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Clay pipes

A number of clay pipes were found during the excavation and through communication with archaeologists at the Citadel of Damascus, it was established that they were amongst the earliest evidence for tobacco use in the region.

Type: Archaeological Find
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Dayr Mar Elian

These images show the cloister of Dayr Mar Elian esh-Sharqi after the Syrian team from the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) finished their work at the site. A strategy for preserving the site has been indefinitely delayed by the start of the Syrian civil war.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Dayr Mar Elian in the snow

These images show Dayr Mar Elian in the winter of 2008 when there was a heavy fall of snow, which is naturally relatively rare in the Syrian desert. The pictures were taken by Brother Daniel, a novice at the monastery of Mar Musa and show the old and new cloisters, old and new churches, olive and other fruit trees and a new building built in the traditional 'beehive' style.

Type: Architecture
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Dayr Mar Elian Museum

This small exhibition space was established in the restored room north of the tower at Mar Elian and held the fragments of Byzantine reliquaries found during the excavations, along with ceramic and glass objects. This included a number of C19th amphorae that had been uncovered west of the 1938 church and which environmental analysis revealed had held wine or grape molasses.

Type: Museum Exhibit
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Dayr Mar Elian panorama

This is a panorama of the old cloister looking west, with the new church and graveyard to the rear of the picture. The image was taken by a Lebanese visitor to the site in 2009 after the excavations had been completed.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Dayr Mar Elian post-excavation 2005

These pictures were taken in 2005 after the British Archaeological excavations had ended and before a Syrian team undertook to excavate the entirety of the cloister. In the year since the excavations had ended a new mud brick chapel had been constructed over the sarcophagus of the saint and at the east end of this chapel the trench where three fragments of Byzantine reliquaries had been discovered with a broken glass vessel had been left uncovered. Groundworks on the north side of the chapel in preparation for a new northern cloister revealed the earlier stratigraphy of the enclosure/chapel wall.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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