Report on Papyri: June, 1922

(see letter of Sir. Frederic Kenyon dated Aug. 16, 1922)

June 27, 1922

These papyri come mostly, but not entirely, from the find a portion of which was bought by Prof. Kelsey in 1921, i.e. the archives of the γραφειον of Tebtunis in the first half of the 1st century. With few exceptions they are well preserved, and several are exceptionally beautiful examples of papyrus documents, but for the most part the contents are not specially remarkable, all the more since they do not as a rule add much that is novel to the material acquired last year, and the prices asked are in all cases (though not to an equal extent) exorbitant. Prices have risen rapidly since 1918, and it seems clear that dealers and natives alike have been encouraged by each rise to demand much increased prices. It would in my opinion be a great mistake to pay the prices now asked, as not only are they quite out of proportion to the value of the papyri (even allowing for the general increase in pricess since the war) but the inevitable result will be such a further rise as will ultimately make the purchase of papyri impossible.

In the following report a brief description of each piece is given, with the (approximate) dimensions; and since it is often interesting to know how much the document was folded (or rolled) and after pressing the folds tend to disappear, I have, where possible, indicated the direction of folding. Specially interesting papyri are denoted by a star; but since I have rarely read more than enough to discover the character of a document the abscence of a star must not be taken as indicating that a particular papyrus may not have a special interest of its own. I have estimated the value of each lot separately. These valuations are made with reference to the higher prices paid since the war and are what I should regard as outside prices.

Total £ 458 (Nahman £E 2325).

H.I. Bell
British Museum

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