Sunday, June 25, 2023

ISAC Museum Demotic Ostraca Online

[First posted in AWOL 12 August 2010, updated 25 June 2023]

The Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures Museum houses a large collection of nearly 900 Demotic ostraca, pottery sherds upon which ancient scribes recorded a wide variety of text types. The vast majority of the corpus concerns economic matters and consists of receipts, contracts, memos, and lists, but there is a small selection of other genres such as votive and astrological texts. With few exceptions, the material derives from the environs of Thebes and over half of the collection derives from the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures excavations at Medinet Habu. Attested dates in the documents range from the early Ptolemaic Period (circa 285 BCE) to the early Roman Period (circa 80 CE). Less than one third of the corpus has been published:

The database was developed as both a scholarly research tool and a means for the publication of the unpublished Demotic ostraca. It is our aim to make available all of the Demotic ostraca in this collection, both published and unpublished, to scholars worldwide in a format that will allow for complex searching and sorting criteria as well as quick and easy updating. This will be accomplished through periodic updates as additional texts are edited and entered into the database.

The principal investigator is Foy Scalf, in collaboration with Brian Muhs and Jacqueline Jay. Volunteer assistance, editorial help, and data entry has been provied by NELC graduate students Theresa Tiliakos, Ella Karev, and Rebecca Wang.



Visit the OCHRE hompage to the see the manual, FAQ, and Wiki instructional.



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