- * * *Found: the dustbin of history * The Guardian [UK], May 18, 2008 Our collective memory of the past is mostly confined to grand figures and epic events,Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2008View Source_
Found: the dustbin of history
The Guardian [UK], May 18, 2008
Our collective memory of the past is mostly confined to grand figures
and epic events, while the vast majority of humanity ends up in the
wastelands of oblivion. Thanks to nearly half a million papyrus
fragments uncovered in Hellenic Egyptian rubbish dumps which are being
gradually decoded, however, we are, quite literally, salvaging fragments
of ordinary people's lives from the dustbin of history.
The rubbish dumps in question belonged to the provincial but thriving
Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus (City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish), about 100
miles south of modern Cairo, which was established during the pharaonic
New Kingdom and became Hellenised in Ptolemic times, but was eventually
reduced to a single standing column. Most of the unearthed documents,
discovered by two Victorian archaeologists, date from the time when
Egypt was part of the Roman empire, and include a treasure trove of lost
classics and non-canonical gospels.
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