27° 33' 00.0" N 30° 43' 09.0" E
Computer Modeling&Simulation, Exhibition Design
Bawit Monastery in Egypt
Department of Egyptian Antiquities
of the Louvre Museum
EVCAU Research Team:
Dr. André Del, Pr. Olivier Bouet
The history of Christianity in Egypt dates to the Roman era as Alexandria was an early center of Christianity. Nowadays, about 10% of the Egyptian population are Christian, being known as Copts. The Coptic art and architecture is rich and characterized by its wall-paintings, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and sculptures much of which endured in abbeys and churches. The archaeological site of Bawit monastery is located about 280 kilometers on the south of Cairo. It has a surface of 40 hectares and contains a graveyard and the ruins of the Hermopolite Monastery of Apa Apollo initiated by Apollo in the late fourth century. The constructions on this site are fairly well preserved, and reveal different aspects of a monastic complex of Middle Egypt. In early 1901, a survey of the site and surrounding areas was made by Jean Clédat, who was based at the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo. Continuing into 1902, Clédat was supported by Émile Gaston Chassinat and Charles Palanque. Clédat found hermitages he called "chapels" that contained Coptic art. His associates discovered two churches, entitled North and South Church, with stone and wood artifacts that were removed to the Coptic Museum in Cairo and the Louvre Museum in Paris. The following project focuses on the North Church, named the Church of the Archangel Michael which was modelized in collaboration with the Louvre Museum Archives Department. These models were an important and useful tool for understanding and identifying the structure of the edifice and for developing a new hypothesis of the building structure. These digital models were as well used as an important element of archaeological exhibition including a short movie created from images, digital models, augmented reality and texts presented by the Louvre Museum in France and Spain from 2009 to 2012. During these exhibitions a visitor survey was conducted, focusing on visitor's expectations concerning the use of digital reconstitution of heritage places, as well as possible devices allowing a better understanding of the archaeological heritage and the “genius loci”.