Egypt Exploration Fund [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1896-1897

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increase the number of workmen gradually up to 110, and, as we moved
northwards over other parts of the site, the flow of papyri soon became
a torrent which it was difficult to cope with. Each lot found by a pair,
man and boy, had to be kept separate; for the knowledge that papyri are
found together is frequently of the greatest importance for determining
their date, and since it is inevitable that so fragile a material should
sometimes be broken in tho process of extricating it from the closely-
packed soil, it is imperative to keep together, as far as possible,
fragments of the same document. We engaged two men to make tin
boxes for storing the papyri, but for the next ten weeks they could
hardly keep pace with us.

As I had anticipated, the remains of houses in the low ground between
and outside the rubbish mounds were too shallow to be worth digging,
and the rubbish mounds proved to cover very few traces of walls, much
less any complete building. The papyri were, as a rule, not very far
from the surface ; in one patch of ground, indeed, merely turning up
the soil with one's boot would frequently disclose a layer of papyri, and
it was seldom that we found even tolerably well-preserved documents
at a greater depth than ten feet. The explanation is that the damp
soaking up from below, owing to the rise of the Nile bed, has
proved fatal to what papyri there may have been in the lower
levels. It was not uncommon to find at two or three feet from the
surface in the lower parts of mounds rolls which had been hopelessly
spoiled by damp.

The mounds divided themselves roughly into three classes : those on
the outside of the site producing first to early fourth, century papyri,
those near the village being of the mediaeval Arabic period, while the
intermediate ones chiefly produced papyri of the Byzantine period, varied
occasionally by earlier ones or by Arabic papyri of the eighth and ninth
centuries. The old town, founded probably on the river-bank where the
modern village stands, thus reached its widest extent in the Roman
period, and has been contracting ever since. As a rule, the papyri
found in one mound tended to be within a century or two of each other;
and where a mound had several layers of papyri at different depths, the
difference of date between the highest and the lowest was generally
not very marked, though two of the highest mounds had a layer of
Byzantine papyri on the top and another of second to third century
lower down. Some cases where a mound was of a composite character,
i.e. where it really contained two or three smaller mounds heaped up at
different periods and then all covered over by later rubbish, produced
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