Objects in the Collection

All objects in the Collection come from Egypt. They are written testimonies of 3,000 years of Egyptian history, from the time of the Pharaohs through the periods of Greek and then Roman rule to the conquest by the Arabs and well into the Islamic period. The media that carry the texts are, as well as papyri: parchment, paper, potsherds (ostraca), leather, wood, wax tablets, stone, bones, metal, and textiles.

Fragment from the biography of the Prophet according to Ibn Ishak (Arabic, 8th century AD)

The languages of these texts are those written and spoken in Egypt from the 15th century BC to the 15th century AD, these include: Middle Egyptian, written in hieroglyphs and hieratic (about 275 objects); demotic (about 2000 objects); Coptic (in all dialects, some 26,000 texts); Greek, the language of the upper classes and administration from about 300 BC to AD 685 (about 70,000 texts); Latin (about 160 texts); Hebrew (about 200 texts); Syriac, Aramaic, Pehlevi (Middle Persian); and Arabic (about 75,000 objects).

Research Literature

The research library in the Department contains some 15,000 volumes. They mainly cover the areas of Egyptology, Greek and Demotic Papyrology, Coptology, Classical Studies and Epigraphy, while its history section covers the history of Egypt from the Ptolemaic to the Arab period (3rd century BC to 10th century AD). Additions to these sections are being made in the areas of the arts and crafts, and of everyday life to provide background information to the testimony of the texts.

last update 2/3/2016