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El-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus) from the air: 1985-7

Photographs were taken during the Kuwait-financed work at the site in the late 1980s under the direction of Professor Geza Fehervari, by attaching a camera to a kite by up to 200 metres of line. A higher altitude view shows the northern end of the modern village, looking north-east. The Bahr Yussuf is at the upper right corner, with the late 9th century mosque of Hassan ibn-Salih on the nearer bank; this was the first mosque to be built in Oxyrhynchus/Bahnasa, on the site of the principal Christian church of the Byzantine town. It is said that the pillars of that church are still visible inside the mosque.

The open space in the middle of the photograph had not been investigated. It appears to contain a great rubbish-mound, partly built on, and apparently Roman columns protrude from the rubbish.

The ruined 15th-century mosque of Zain el-Abidin is just in view at the upper left corner of the picture. Rescue work on this building was one of the main aims of the Kuwaiti mission.

A lower altitude view shows this ruined mosque — its minaret going out of the picture — at the upper right. The yellowish dome at the lower left is the qubba of Abu Samra (18th century), prominent in other views of this area; the ‘Phocas pillar’ is out to the left from this view. At the lower right corner can be seen what appears to be a Roman column; since the ground level in the Roman period was some 6 metres lower than the ground level here, it may be (unless this is a very tall column!) that the column has been re-erected here in relatively modern times.

© D.Kennet; unpublished