7th and beginning of the 8th century
The texts are diverse in terms of their
content. A number of the ostraca bear the
Coptic alphabet [Fig. 2], as well as different
kinds of school exercises. They were written
apparently for the sake of writing practice.
Few of the ostraca bear biblical texts, but
among these one seems to be particularly
intriguing (K.O. 77) [Fig. 3]. On one side
there is a biblical text written in Greek, and
on the other the Coptic alphabet and a par-
tly preserved text inscribed in Coptic. The
hand on both sides appears to be the same.
Most of the ostraca concern "business"
and legal matters. They mention sending
money, constitute "payment certificates" or
refer to a sale (of camels frequently). Some
are a good example of "promise of protec-
tion" documents TTAoroc MTTNOYTe.5 It is
regrettable, however, that due to the frag-
mentariness of most of the sherds found so far,
often an essential part of the text, like the sub-
ject of a transaction for instance, is missing.
Regarding prosopography, apart from
the above-mentioned Frange, there are some
popular and widespread names, such as
ABpAHAM, ICDHANNHC and icaak, appear-
ing in the texts. As most of the ostraca are
addressed to one atta icuch(|), I dare say
that he must have been the monk inhabi-
ting the hermitage.
Fig. 2. Ostracon with the Coptic alphabet
(Photo M. Jawornicki)
5 Regarding texts using this formula, see Walter C. Till, "Koptische Schutzbriefe", MDAIK 8 (1938), 71-146.