Friday, July 29, 2011
Papyri, Technology, and Armchair Archaeologists
The University of Oxford recently announced that it is calling on the general public for help with the Oxyrhynchus papyri here. Anyone with internet access can now help in cataloguing the many papyrus manuscripts by transcribing and measuring them with a simple user interface on ancientlives.org. I've been transcribing a few manuscripts myself and have been surprised at just how user-friendly the interface is. This collaborative effort between "Oxford University papyrologists, the Egypt Exploration Society, and a team in Oxford University’s Department of Physics" promises to be a great technological aid in analyzing the mass of manuscripts, and I for one am excited about the possibilities. Though undoubtedly there is no substitute for hands-on interaction with original manuscripts, the internet is opening a window of opportunity with ease of access and technological capabilities. If you haven't worked on any papyrus manuscripts yet, here is your chance!