Excavating Empire: The Forgotten Archive of Mount Sinai
- Muirhead Atrium
In 1892 twin sisters Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson made the incredible discovery of the Codex Syriac Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the gospel from the fourth century and the oldest copy of the gospels in Syriac. Born in Ayrshire in 1843, the daughters of Scottish Presbyterians, as women they were not able to attend a British university. However the sisters undertook private tuition and became expert in ancient languages including Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. Encouraged by their friend James Rendel Harris they visited St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, where they made their astonishing discovery.
This exhibition reveals letters and photographs from the archives of Agnes and Margaret, held in the Cadbury Research Library, shedding light on this extraordinary expedition.