PAPYROLOGY:  pKraft cart030(b)

Virginia Wayland [edited by RAK]

October 24, 2006 

1.  Scanning proved the best way to record the papyrus surface and its lettering.  The piece is an irregular tetragon on which there are traces of 4 lines of writing visible on surface "a".  The dimensions are:  top – 2.70cm,  bottom – 2.28cm, vertical side – 1.50 cm, diagonal side – 2.12 cm.  The writing appears to go against the fibers (fibers appear vertical when writing is horizontal).  The writing is faint when dry.  The a surface appears to be abraded in a vertical swath 0.3 cm wide for the entire width of the piece. On side "b", a small irregular piece of a plaster or mud backing was clear, adhering to the fibers.  Two separate papyrus layers also can be seen below it (left side of the image below).

3. At the end of the procedure, the piece removed from side b was soaked in isopropyl alcohol overnight.  The mud/plaster backing separated easily, but crumbled into small chunks.  The surface underneath contained remnants of 2-3 letters (λ? ? ?), which appear to have been written with the fibers (right side of the image below). 

other side

2.  About 10 drops of deionized water (~ 1 mL) were put on the piece and allowed to soak through for 1 hour.  The water which was not absorbed into the papyrus became dark brown, although still transparent.  The lettering on side "a" became somewhat clearer (top left image below).


 When wet, it became obvious that a small piece of surface had shifted (from the abraded swath?) to occur on an angle at the left upper corner of the piece.  3 horizontal fibers at the top of the third line of writing were removed, revealing some ink marks where they had been against the lower surface (lower part of the image above, to the left).  The cleared surface appeart at top right, above. The lower part of the image above shows further separation of possible layers.

The letters of line 1 are 2-3 mm high.  The spaces between lines 1 and 2 are 3-4 mm.  The space between line 2 and line 3 is approximately 2 mm;  between line 3 and 4, 2-3 mm.  

Line 1:   κ ? . ι/ρ/? θ π τ

Line 2:  ? ? . υ τ ι λ υ ι/ς ψ/φ

Line 3:  {traces of 6 letters?}

Line 4: {traces of 6 letters?}. . ε ο . . 

Separation of the two papyrus layers does not reveal any writing on either side, but there is severe splitting of the second layer. 

Here are the separate layers and fragments when still wet:


3. For step 3, see above.