Mission decode

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Ancient Documents>> History • The UK/Egypt

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Oxford University is asking for help in deciphering ancient Greek texts written on fragments of papyrus found in Egypt.

Hundreds of thousands of images have gone on display on a website which encourages armchair archaeologists to help catalogue and translate them. Researchers hope the collective effort will give them a unique insight into life in Egypt 2,000 years ago.

The collection is made up of papyri recovered in the early 20th century from Oxyrhynchus city, the so-called “City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish”. The papyri has literature, letters and even a story on Jesus Christ casting out demons. Several documents on the site have not been read for over 1,000 years. Project director Dirk Obbink said the aim is to transcribe as much as possible and then identify and reconstruct the text.

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