Traveling to St. Catherine Monastery/Sinai (20.09.2007 – 04.10.2007)

Within the framework of the Project Sinai (funded by the Austrian Science Fund under grant P19608-G12) a part of the project group was travelling to the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai/Egypt. Following participants joined the expedition:

  • O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinz Miklas, University of Vienna
  • Dr. Velizar Sadovsky, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Manfred Schreiner, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
  • Ernst-Georg Hammerschmid, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
  • Dipl.-Ing. Martin Lettner, Vienna University of Vienna
  • Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kleber, Vienna University of Vienna

After arriving in Cairo and a short stop at the Austrian embassy (thanks to Mag. Iris Mostegel for her encouragement) to organize the transport of the equipment to the monastery, and a ca. 5 hrs bus trip through the desert of Sinai, we reached the monastery in the afternoon.

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On the next day the equipment had been set up in the library of the monastery. The equipment consisted of:

  • Hamamatsu C9300-124 camera (used for VIS, UV reflectography and IR reflectography)
  • Nikon D2Xs camera (used for VIS and UV fluorescence)
  • Filter wheel (7 filters)
  • PC, used to control the entire equipment.

The major part served to digitize the manuscripts. For material analyses a RFA instrument was used by Prof. Schreiner.
Since everything was working fine from the beginning to the end of the journey the entire working program was achieved successfully. Because of the fast and effective work, additional manuscripts could be digitized. The following list shows all captured manuscripts:

  • Missale Sinaiticum (Cod. Sin. slav. 5/N), complete manuscript (UV, VIS, NIR)
  • Euchologium Sinaiticum, new part (Sin. slav. 1/N), badly conserved pages (UV, VIS, NIR)
  • Euchologium Sinaiticum, old part (Sin. slav. 37/O), samples with colored head lines, initials, ornaments (UV, VIS, NIR)
  • Psalterium Sinaiticum, old part (Cod. Sin. slav. 38/O) (UV, VIS)
  • Psalterium Sinaiticum, new part (Cod. Sin. slav. 2/N), palimpsest and badly conserved pages (UV, VIS, NIR)
  • Cod. Sin. slav. 10/N, complete manuscript (UV, VIS)
  • Psalter of Dmitrij Oltarnik (Cod. Sin. slav. 3/N), complete manuscript (UV, VIS)

Most of the manuscripts were also examined by RFA.

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The above pictures show part of the monastery and the work with a badly conserved folio of the Missale Sinaiticum (Cod. Sin. slav. 5/N).