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Calling Egyptology Geeks: Help Decipher Ancient Papyri

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posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 03:58 PM
Archaeologists from the Egypt Exploration Society and Oxford University are posting online fragments from a huge cache of ancient Egyptian papyri asking everyone and anyone to help decipher them. These 'fragments' come from a lost city known to its inhabitants as the City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish.

Hi, I’m James Brusuelas, a Research Associate of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and member of the Ancient Lives team. Welcome to Ancient Lives!

This is a new area for the Zooniverse; Ancient Lives is putting hundreds of thousands of images of Greek papyri fragments online. Many of these papyri have remained unstudied since they were discovered more than a century ago, and the team is asking you to help expedite the process of transcription and cataloguing. Our goal is to increase the momentum by which scholars have traditionally identified known and unknown literary texts, and the private documents and letters that open up a window into the ancient lives of Graeco-Roman Egypt.

In recent volumes of THE OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRI, among personal and private papers, we find Aurelius the sausage-maker who takes out a loan for 9,000 silver denarii, a work contract giving the terms of employment of a public herald in sixth century Oxyrhynchus, Hymenaeus sends a letter via his ‘Ethiopian’ slave, and an edict of the Prefect Vestinus from 62 CE.

As for literary texts, in addition to a previously unknown uncanonical gospel, we have identified a papyrus of the Presocratic philosopher and poet Empedocles on the anatomy of the eye, Dictys of Crete’s prose re-telling of the Trojan War story, new fragments of ancient novels Lollianos’ Phoenician Tales and Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon , new letters of the philosopher Epicurus, various dialogues of Plato, and soon to be published: Euripides’ lost play Melanippe the Wise, the elegies of Theognis, Herodotus’ Histories, Menander’s Misoumenos, and various plays by Aristophanes.


From their online site, they provide a 'transcriber' type tool to help you decipher these fragments but it will take some fiddling around and maybe some educated guess work to get the texts properly translated.

Their site can be found here.

Interactive Tutorial Very important read!

Image Source

A fragment waiting to be transcribed.

edit on 31/7/2011 by Freelancer because: (no reason given)

edit on 31/7/2011 by Freelancer because: Fixing a link

posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 04:43 PM
I played around with a few of them. Some characters are easy to make out and others...

I thought my doctor had bad writing skills...

posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 09:07 AM
i dont think this is looks greek....if so, im sure the coptics in egypt can decipher this...they speak a greek language written in arabic.....we all know egyptian was written in heiroglyphs...this is late kingdom greek....i can see alpha and that papyrus looks upside down....

edit on 1-8-2011 by thePharaoh because: (no reason given)


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