P. Turin Cat. 1906 Verso Result After Being inked by Elena Luise Hertel Using a Wacom Tablet and Photoshop

Feb 22, 2021

The Museo Egizio in Turin is home to many famous pieces of ancient Egyptian art. Less known is that the collection also contains roughly 9000 fragments and approximately 230 larger ensembles of the New Kingdom hieratic papyri from Deir el-Medina, many of them unpublished.

To gain a better understanding of this rich but highly fragmented material, the project Crossing Boundaries: Understanding Complex Scribal Practices in Ancient Egypt was created as a collaboration between the universities of Basel and Liège and the Museo Egizio. The goal is to study the papyri within an international and interdisciplinary research project and provide access to the material and create modern, digital tools for facilitating papyrological work.

In digitalEPIGRAPHY's latest case study, Elena Luise Hertel, a Ph.D. candidate at Basel University and member of the project "Crossing Boundaries", is searching for some answers to the many pressing questions regarding the visual documentation of papyri.

As she writes in the introduction of her excellent article "it is generally known that papyrus as a writing material was occasionally reused, for example, by erasing a previously written text and re-inscribing the papyrus (and thus creating a palimpsest), by using the empty backside of a sheet, or even by making use of space such as a margin. However, many questions on the exact dynamics of this practice remain open: Were there specific rules or common papyrus reuse practices? How exactly was ink removed? What kind of texts were erased in favor of a new text? And how many times could a papyrus sheet be reused?"

Please, read about Elena's instructive experimentation with documenting papyri by clicking here!

This post was originally released as part of digitalEPIGRAPHY's growing Instagram collection. If you'd like to see our latest photos as soon as we post them, please follow us on Instagram.

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