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Ancient Lives [Oxyrhynchus]

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  • Roberto Labanti
    Anyone tried? Between already identified papyri were some NT ones. Best, Roberto *** Source: http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2011/110726.html Public to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2011
      Anyone tried?
      Between already identified papyri were some NT ones.

      Best,
      Roberto

      ***
      Source: http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2011/110726.html

      Public to hunt for lost gospels, literature & letters

      26 Jul 11

      Members of the public are being asked to help decode papyri, in order
      to find fragments of lost gospels, works of literature, and letters
      about everyday life in ancient Egypt, in a new project launched by
      Oxford University.

      Ancient Lives (ancientlives.org), which launches today, is putting
      hundreds of thousands of images of fragments of papyri written in
      Greek online. Researchers say that ‘armchair archaeologists’ visiting
      the website can help with cataloguing the collection, and could make
      amazing finds, such as the recent discovery of fragments of a
      previously unknown ‘lost’ gospel which describes Jesus Christ casting
      out demons.

      Nobody knows who wrote this lost gospel: it is part of a treasure
      trove of papyri recovered in the early 20th century from the Egyptian
      city of Oxyrhynchus, the ‘City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish’. The texts
      were written in Greek during a period when Egypt was under the control
      of a Greek (and later Roman) settler class. Many of the papyri had not
      been read for over a thousand years.

      Because of the huge number of images involved researchers need
      volunteers to look through and catalogue them or transcribe the text
      using a simple web interface, which displays both known and unknown
      texts.

      ‘It’s with the digital advancements of our own age, that we're able to
      open up this window into the past, and see a common human experience
      in that intimate, traditional medium, handwriting,’ said lead
      developer and designer, William MacFarlane of Oxford University’s
      Department of Physics.

      Experts have been studying the collection for over a hundred years. It
      is because of Oxyrhynchus that we now have lost masterpieces that went
      missing during the medieval period: the lost poetry of Sappho, the
      lost comedies of Menander and the lost plays of Sophocles. There are
      personal documents too – we learn from a letter that Aurelius the
      sausage-maker has taken out a loan of 9000 silver denarii, perhaps to
      expand his business, whilst in another letter of 127 AD a grandmother,
      called Sarapias, asks that her daughter is brought home so that she
      can be present at the birth of her grandchild.

      ‘Discovering new texts is always exciting,’ explains team papyrologist
      Dr James Brusuelas, ‘but the fact that you’re reading a piece of
      literature or a private letter that hasn’t been read in over a
      thousand years, that’s what I like about papyrology.’ Paul Ellis, an
      imaging specialist who assisted with the digitization of the papyrus
      texts, said: ‘Online images are a window into ancient lives.’

      The project is a collaboration between Oxford University
      papyrologists, the Egypt Exploration Society, and a team in Oxford
      University’s Department of Physics who specialise in building ‘citizen
      science’ projects that allow anyone to make an authentic contribution
      to research.

      ‘Until now only experts could explore this incredible collection,’
      said project leader Dr Chris Lintott of Oxford University’s Department
      of Physics, ‘but with so much of the collection unstudied there’s
      plenty for everyone. We’re excited to see what visitors to
      ancientlives.org can unearth.’

      ‘Papyrologists are well known for friendship among those interested in
      ancient texts,’ said Project Director Dr Dirk Obbink, Oxford
      University Lecturer in Papyrology and Greek Literature at the
      University of Oxford. ‘This effort is pervaded by a spirit of
      collaboration. We aim to transcribe as much as possible of the
      original papyri, and then identify and reconstruct the text. No single
      pair of eyes can see and read everything. From scientists and
      professors to school students and ancient enthusiasts, everyone has
      something to contribute – and gain.’

      Ancientlives.org is part of the www.zooniverse.org network of public
      participation projects, which includes Old Weather, which aims to
      rescue weather records contained in World War I ship’s logs. More
      than 500,000 logbook pages have been transcribed so far. The original
      Zooniverse project was Galaxy Zoo, and a total of more than 400,000
      people have registered to take part.

      The project was supported by a grant from the Arts and Humanities
      Research Council and the John Fell Fund, and is indebted to the Oxford
      University Department of Classics and the Egypt Exploration Society,
      London who oversee the Oxyrhynchus Collection in the Sackler Library,
      Oxford as part of a wide range of scholarly and outreach activities.
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