Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1905-1906

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Egypt Exploration Fund.

rare, and Oxyrhynchus has hitherto produced little that is earlier
than the reign of Tiberius, we dug this mound out completely; but the
results were at no time remunerative, owing to the poor condition of the

The next three weeks were devoted to excavating along, narrow range of
mounds, of which the eastern part had accumulated in the second and third
centuries, while the western part was mainly composed of fourth or fifth
century rubbish with earlier layers underneath. The range was rich in
papyri throughout, among which literary fragments were fairly numerous,
but not until the excavation of it was nearly finished did the finds
assume a very striking character. Then an event happened which enabled
us to realize a long-cherished ambition. At Oxyrhynclms it is not
uncommon to come upon large groups of papyri which have been thrown
away simultaneously. These finds in previous seasons have always
-consisted either of letters, accounts and contracts belonging to one or
more private individuals, or else of multifarious official documents from
the local archives, while literary fragments have been conspicuous by their
absence. But there remained the chance that, on some occasion in making
a find of this extensive character, the papyri instead of being non-literary
would consist of classical works from a scholar's library; and on January
13th we were at length fortunate enough to make a discovery of that
nature. Shortly before sunset we reached, at about G feet from the
surface, a place where in the third century a.d. a basketful of broken
literary papyrus rolls had been thrown away. In the fading light
it was impossible to extricate the whole find that evening ; but a strong
guard was posted 0:1 the spot during the night, and the remainder was
safely removed in the following forenoon. Befoi'e being condemned to the
rubbish-heap, the papyri had, as usual, been torn up; but amid hundreds
of smaller fragments there were a couple of cores of rolls, containing ten
or twelve columns, other pieces containing five or six, and many more one
or two columns. The process of combining the various pieces is
necessarily slow, and we have not yet had time to fit together and
decipher more than about half the find. Leaving the smaller fragments
out of account, the MSS. wdiich are represented by one or more of the
longer pieces number nine, all belonging to the second or third century.
Two of these are poetical, both, fortunately, non-extant and by authors
of the highest rank, Pindar and Euripides. The Pindar papyrus
contains paeans, i.e. odes of supplication or thanksgiving, and their
authorship is proved by several coincidences witli extant Pindaric
fragments. Thirteen columns of about fifteen lines each are preserved
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