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WEBSITE: Would you like to help transcribe ancient papyri? Check out the Ancient Lives project!

Extracting fragments of papyri from the ancient rubbish dumps of Oxyrhyncus (Source: Ancient Lives).

Extracting fragments of papyri from the ancient rubbish dumps of Oxyrhyncus (Source: Ancient Lives).

“Ancient Lives is a collaboration between a diverse collection of Oxford Papyrologists and Researchers, The Imaging Papyri Project, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project, the Egypt Exploration Society and the following institutions.

The papyri belong to the Egypt Exploration Society and their texts will eventually be published and numbered in Society’s Greco-Roman Memoirs series in the volumes entitledThe Oxyrhynchus Papyri” – via Ancient Lives.

The Ancient Lives project offers you the chance to help transcribe the many fragments of papyri that were discovered between 1896 and 1907 in the ancient rubbish dumps of the city of Oxyrhyncus. The result of the excavations is a collection of 700 boxes of about 500,000 fragments of papyri bearing all manner of literature, from Plato, Thucydides, and Greek lyric poetry to private letters, accounts, wills, marriage certificates, and land leases. 

The Ancient Lives project needs your help with the immense task of identifying the characters that are written on the fragments. If you have some spare time and would like to help, you can take a simple online tutorial and get started. You don’t need to read Greek (the language of the majority of the papyri) but you do need a good eye for detail. You submit your character identifications and then they are checked for accuracy. You are not expected to identify every character correctly, but your help will speed up the extremely lengthy process.

If you would like to help, then simply complete the interactive tutorial here and start making history!

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5 comments on “WEBSITE: Would you like to help transcribe ancient papyri? Check out the Ancient Lives project!

  1. Hi Jemma, Do you have to pay for th tutorial ?

  2. o.k. I will do that when I get home from the archaeological centre where I work. The project sounds interesting.

  3. Reblogged this on The Archaeology of Tomb Raider and commented:
    This sounds like an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to contribute some of their free time to helping academics (and, by extension, the general public) learn more about Egypt’s Graeco-Roman period. No knowledge of Ancient Greek is necessary, just enthusiasm and a keen eye for detail.

  4. […] when you’re done with that, you can translate some Egyptian papyri. (Egyptiana […]

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