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Crowdsourcing Ancient Egyptian Scrolls 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the ancient-group-work dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dons at Oxford University were on the BBC Radio 4 'Today' program this morning asking for help from listeners to transcribe unearthed ancient Egyptian texts and scrolls via their website. Visitors to the site are asked to match-up letters on scanned fragments of papyrus with an on-screen Greek alphabet. By doing so, they can help reveal some of the amazing documents that the ancient Egyptians last read. You too can become a papyrologist!"
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Crowdsourcing Ancient Egyptian Scrolls

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  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @01:32PM (#36886066)
    As a late antique historian, I have to point out (to defend our territory, and, at the same time, avoid offending historians of an earlier period) that these are not "ancient Egyptian" in the sense most people mean. These are very late antique. I am glad to see a project like this, however. It's because of mundane papyrus stashes like these that we know more about daily life in Egypt, and Alexandria in particular, than any other area in late antiquity. For those who might be interested in the subject, I recommend R. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity (1993), C. Haas, Alexandria in Late Antiquity (1997), and the recent Egypt in the Byzantine World, 300-700, edited by Bagnall (2007), as some great places to start.
  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:29PM (#36886692)
    I'm afraid my own fields of study do not extend so far back, so I cannot speak about pre-Ptolemaic Egypt with any expertise. I can say that a standard introductory work in English is Cyril Aldred's The Egyptians (1984) and it receives fairly high marks in the reviews. Even after you finish Grimal, Aldred may prove worth reading as well. The Francophone tradition of scholarship, as represented by Grimal (a work translated from the French), is different in nearly all fields than the Anglophone (which is not to say better or worse). The classic, out of date, but very readable and detailed work is by Maspero. I cannot help but think that Maspero represents the analogue of Gibbon in my own field.

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