Dr. K.C. (Karel) Innemée

  • Lecturer
  • Art history
  • Christian culture of the Near-East

Fields of interest

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Iconography, Christian and Islamic culture of the Near East, especially of Egypt. Late antiquity and early Christianity.


The Deir-al-Surian Wall Paintings

This still inhabited monastery, founded in the 6th century, houses a 7th century church in which a number of layers of wall paintings have been created since its construction. Most of these paintings disappeared under a layer of plain plaster during the 18th century. In the context of this project, the paintings are once again exposed to daylight by an internationally composed group of restorers. A number of different inscriptions in Coptic, Syrian and Arabic have been revealed.

Between the 9th and the 16th centuries, the monastery was inhabited by a Syrian community of monks, and the research has provided new material about the international contacts that existed between Christian communities in Egypt and Syria, particularly during this period. The paintings from the 8th century to the 13th century contain themes which had previously been unknown - or almost unknown - in Christian iconography.

The Deir-el Beramus Excavation

12 kilometres further to the north are the ruins of what was probably the oldest monastic settlement in the area, and one of the most ancient settlements in Egypt. In the 4th century, hermits settled here, in an area where salt had been harvested since the second millennium. An abandoned watch-tower was the location of a settlement in which a temple was built making use of the building material of a demolished Pharaonic temple. Since the 9th century, there appears to have been a walled monastery with communal facilities for the inhabitants. The research focuses on developments from both a sociological and an architectural-historical perspective, which have led to the establishment of an organized monastery comprising a group of hermits each living separately.

Curriculum Vitae

Born 1957
1975-1982       Egyptology, History of Art and Archaeology, Leiden University
1990               PhD Dissertation on Ecclesiastical Vestments in Nubia and the Christian Near East
1983-present   Lecturer in the History of Art Programme, Leiden University
2003-2004       Guest Professorship Coptic Culture at the American University of Cairo.

Teaching activities

Iconography, Late Antiquity and early Christian culture and archaeology, Coptic art and archaeology.

Key publications

  • Ecclesiastical Dress in the Medieval Near East, Leiden 1992.
  • Koptische Kloosters, Gods Levende Doden, Baarn 1999
  • K.C. Innemée and Luk Van Rompay, "Deir al Surian (Egypt), New Discoveries of January 2000" Hugoye, Journal of Syriac Studies vol. 3 nr. 2 (2000)
  • K.C. Innemée, "On the necessity of dress; Should a hermit wear clothes?" in Khil'a, Journal of Dress and Textiles in the Islamic World 1 (2006) pp. 69-78
  • "Excavations at Deir al-Baramus 2002-2005" in Bulletin de la Societé d´Archéologie Copte XLV (2006), 50-78

Last Modified: 01-02-2016