What's New in Papyrology

Recent publications of papyri & ostraca 4th BC-8th AD; conferences, lectures etc. from Papy-L and other sources as noted. PLEASE SEND SUGGESTIONS

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Call for Papers: Observing the Scribe at Work

Observing the Scribe at Work: Knowledge Transfer and Scribal Professionalism  in Pre-Typographic Societies

Macquarie University, Sydney

27-28 September 2013

Prior to the typographic revolution of the 15th century, the figure of the scribe was one of the keys by which civilisations were able to disseminate their power, culture and beliefs beyond their geographic, temporal, and even linguistic limits. Our access to the pre-modern world is mediated by the material and technological remains of scribal activity, the manuscript as an artefact of culture and administration. Every text preserved prior to the advent of printing bears witness to the activities of scribes. Yet as a social and professional group they are frequently elusive, obscured by other professional titles, reduced to mention in a colophon, or existing within a private sphere into which our sources do not reach. While much attention has been given to the scribe as a literary figure, the manuscripts offer a unique point of access to this group without the distortions of the literary tradition. This perspective, however, has frequently been restricted to a catalogue of errors, reducing the scribe to the transmission of an acceptable text, without recourse to the physical characteristics of the manuscript itself.

This workshop is built around the Australian Research Council funded project ‘Knowledge Transfer and Administrative Professionalism in a Pre-Typographic Society: Observing the Scribe at work in Roman and Early Islamic Egypt’. The project sets aside the often futile search for the historical figures of the scribe in favour of a focus on observable phenomena: the evidence of their activity in the texts themselves. Recognizing that the act of writing can be a quotidian and vernacular practice, it explicitly includes the documents of everyday life as well as the realms of the copying of literature, seeking paths back to an improved understanding of the role and place of scribes in pre-modern societies.

‘Observing the Scribe at Work’ will bring together specialists in pre-modern societies of the Mediterranean world and adjoining cultures, from the ancient Near East, through the Egyptian and Classical worlds to Byzantium and Renaissance Europe. The papers will contribute to a deeper understanding of the processes that drive the operation of pre-printing cultures, and transmit knowledge and traditions forward in human societies.

The workshop will be held at Macquarie University on 27-28 September 2013. Macquarie University cannot offer full funding for all participants traveling to Australia from overseas, but partial financial assistance will be awarded to select abstracts which closely address the themes of the workshop. Decisions to this effect will be made by the end of April.

We call for abstracts of up to 300 words that address the objectives of this workshop. These should be sent to jennifer.cromwell@mq.edu.au by 31 March 2013.

 Inquiries: Malcolm Choat (malcolm.choat@mq.edu.au); Jennifer Cromwell (jennifer.cromwell@mq.edu.au)

Organising Committee

Malcolm Choat, Jennifer Cromwell, Korshi Dosoo, Rachel Yuen-Collingridge


Australian Research Council

Macquarie University

Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University

Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

R.S. Bagnall, P. Davoli, C.A.C. Hope edd., The Oasis Papers 6: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project

 ISBN: 9781842175248 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph | Volume: 15 | Year of Publication: 2013 | Language: English 512p,

Table of Contents

Major Archaeological Sites in Kharga Oasis and Some Recent Discoveries by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (Bahgat A. Ibrahim) 
Wanderers in the Desert: The North Kharga Oasis Survey’s Exploration of the Darb ‘Ain Amur (Salima Ikram) 
Demotische und kursivhieratische Ostraka aus Mut al-Kharab (Günter Vittmann) 
Cultural Heritage Management of the Archaeological Resources of the Deserts of Egypt (Sayed Yamani) 

The Culture of the Oases: Late Neolithic Herders in Farafra, A Matter of Identity (Barbara E. Barich) 
Geomatics Resources for Archaeological Survey in Desert Areas – Some Prospects from Farafra Oasis, Egypt (Barbara E. Barich, Mattia Crespi, Ulisse Fabiani and Giulio Lucarini) 
Beyond the Shale: Pottery and Cultures in the Prehistory of the Egyptian Western Desert (Maria C. Gatto) 
The Gebel Souhan Problem: Local Innovation in the Middle Stone Age? (Maxine R. Kleindienst and Marcia F. Wiseman) 
Early Craftsmen of the Desert. Traces of Predynastic Lithic Technology at Farafra during the Mid-Holocene (Giulio Lucarini) 
Levallois Lithics on a Middle Stone Age Playa: Finds at Bir el-Obeiyid, Northern Farafra Depression, Egypt (Giuseppina Mutri) 
Wadi Sura and the Gilf Kebir National Park: Challenge and chance for archaeology and conservation in Egypt’s south-west (Heiko Riemer and Rudolph Kuper) 
The Khargan Industry Revisited (Marcia F. Wiseman) 
Technique and Content in the Rock Art of the Libyan Fezzan: some Saharan Stereotypes (Daniela Zampetti) 

Egyptian Connections with Dakhleh Oasis in the Early Dynastic Period to Dynasty IV: new data from Mut al-Kharab (Colin A. Hope and Amy J. Pettman) 
Epigraphic Evidence from the Dakhleh Oasis in the Late Period (Olaf E. Kaper) 
An Old Kingdom Trading Post at ‘Ain el-Gazzareen, Dakhleh Oasis (Anthony J. Mills) 
The Date of the Occupation of ‘Ain el-Gazzareen based on Ceramic Evidence (Amy J. Pettman) 
Provisions for the Journey: Food Production in the ‘bakery’ area of ‘Ain el-Gazzareen, Dakhleh Oasis (Amy J. Pettman, Ursula Thanheiser and Charles S. Churcher) 

Ptolemaic Period Pottery from Mut al-Kharab, Dakhleh Oasis (James C. R. Gill) 

An Agricultural Account from the Gemellos Archive (Giuseppina Azzarello) 
Cemeteries in Dakhleh (Maher Bashendi) 
Amheida 2007–2009: New Results from the Excavations (Paola Davoli) 
Les Nécropoles d’el-Deir (Oasis de Kharga) (Françoise Dunand, Jean-Louis Heim and Roger Lichtenberg) 
Yale University Nadura Temple Project: 2009 Season (David Klotz) 
al-Qasr: the Roman Castrum of Dakhleh Oasis (Paul Kucera) 
Five Roman-Period Tunics from Kellis (Rosanne Livingstone) 
A Remark on the Poll Tax Rate in Kysis (Fabian Reiter) 
Controlling the Borders of the Empire: the distribution of Late-Roman ‘forts’ in the Kharga Oasis (Corinna Rossi) 
Painted Surfaces on Mud Plaster and Three-Dimensional Mud Elements: The Status of Conservation Treatments and Recommendations for Continuing Research (Constance S. Silver) 
The Survey Project at el-Deir, Kharga Oasis: First Results, New Hypotheses (Gaëlle Tallet, Jean-Paul Bravard, Romain Garcier, Stéphanie Guédon and Ashraf Mostapha) 
Amheida: Architectural Conservation and Site Development, 2004–2009 (Nicholas Warner) 
Vine and Acanthus: decorative themes in the wall-paintings of Kellis (Helen Whitehouse) 

The Church Complex of ‘Ain el-Gedida, Dakhleh Oasis (Nicola Aravecchia) 
Christianity on Thoth’s Hill (Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore) 
Coins as Tools for Dating the Foundation of the Large East Church at Kellis: problems and a possible solution (Gillian E. Bowen) 
The Church of Dayr Abu Matta and its Associated Structures: an overview of four seasons of excavation (Gillian E. Bowen) 
The Christian Necropolis of el-Deir in the North of Kharga Oasis (Magali Coudert) 
Ceramics from ‘Ain el-Gedida, Dakhleh Oasis: preliminary results (Delphine Dixneuf) 
Coptic Ostraka from Qasr al-Dakhleh (Iain Gardner) 
Naqlun: the Earliest Hermitages (Wlodzimierz Godlewski) 
Contribution of Textiles as Archaeological Artefacts to the Study of the Christian Cemetery of el-Deir (Fleur Letellier-Willemin)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Article: P. Orsini - W. Clarysse, Early New Testament Manuscripts and Their Dates

Early New Testament Manuscripts and Their Dates A Critique of Theological Palaeography

Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 88/4 (2012) 443-474. 

Abstract :
The date of the earliest New Testament papyri is nearly always based on palaeographical criteria. A consensus among papyrologists, palaeographers and New Testament scholars is presented in the edition of Nestle-Aland, 1994. In the last twenty years several New Testament scholars (Thiede, Comfort-Barrett, 1999, 2001 and Jaroš, 2006) have argued for an earlier date of most of these texts. The present article analyzes the date of the earliest New Testament papyri on the basis of comparative palaeography and a clear distinction between different types of literary scripts. There are no first-century New Testament papyri and only very few papyri can be attributed to the (second half of the) second century. It is only in the third and fourth centuries that New Testament manuscripts become more common, but here too the dates proposed by Comfort-Barrett, 1999, 2001, and Jaroš, 2006 are often too early.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Antinoupolis archaeological site being 'destroyed systematically'

Egypt Independent online

See also: KD Strutt's blog
Newsletter of the Antinoupolis Foundation

Friday, March 08, 2013


From the website 
PapPal facilitates the study of ancient writing by collecting images of dated papyri. Its aim is to illustrate the development and diversity of ancient scripts, and to assist in dating undated texts.

The Paleography of the Papyri

Individual letter-forms as well as larger units of text display paleographical features that are characteristic of the writing styles of the periods in which they originate. These features are often more pronounced when a text is written in cursive script than they are in capital or bookhands. Cursive and semi-cursive writing demonstrates a degree of individuality that is more easily perceived than in non-cursive texts. Thus, viewing documentary papyri dated to different periods provides a fairly clear impression of the basic style of the epoch in question. Ptolemaic hands are generally easy to distinguish from Roman, for example, and 5th and 6th c. script has a character unlike that of the 1st and 2nd c. Yet within these broad chronological contexts we encounter styles and conventions that depend on a range of criteria and circumstances, from the type of text that was recorded to the skill and experience of the writer. One can, for example, often observe distinct differences between the style of a receipt and that of a private letter; a chancery hand will look different from a list of expenditures recorded in the same year; and the Greek script of a native Latin writer will in some cases diverge significantly from that of a native Greek writer. In short, we find an impressive diversity of hands, and this variety frustrates simplistic attempts at a tidy description of the diachronic development of ancient writing. This is not to say that any kind of letter-form can be found in any given period. Quite the contrary, many letter-forms, ligatures, and writing styles are confined to specific places and times. But recognizing the wide spectrum of variations ultimately permits more accurate dating of undated hands, as well as better understanding of the factors that influence specific writing styles.
In order to provide a reliable point of reference for the investigation of ancient writing, PapPal collects dated examples of hands from the 3rd c. BC to the 8th c. AD surviving mainly from Greco-Roman Egypt. Because many ancient documents preserved on papyrus are dated to the very day on which they were recorded, viewing them together brings out features that were typical of a time and, in some cases, of a place of writing. Furthermore, as no two hands are identical, comparison of a range of contemporary scripts also illuminates the variety of writing styles that existed.
The site currently contains primarily Greek papyri. We will soon be adding Greek ostraka and Latin documents.
PapPal permits users to browse images by several different categories: year, provenance, title and keyword. Images can be viewed either as a list in which thumbnails are displayed in rows or as a slideshow. Links accompanying each text direct the user to the project that hosts the image as well as to a transcription at www.papyri.info.