University of Helsinki
The Department of Classical Philology



Papyrology in Finland

Cartonnage Papyri

Carbonised Papyri





Carbonised Papyri

The Papyrus Project of the Helsinki University, in conjunction with its partners abroad, is currently studying two collections of carbonised papyri, the Bubastos Archive and the Petra papyri.

The city of Bubastos was located in the Nile delta. In the 3rd century AD, an archive dealing with taxation was destroyed by fire. Since the papyri were carbonised, they were preserved in spite of the humid climate. The bulk of these papyri are housed in the papyrus collections of the University of Cologne and the Austrian National Library, while some are in Greece (University of Athens), the USA (Duke University) and Barcelona. So far, two volumes of the Bubastos papyri have appeared (Die verkohlten Papyri aus Bubastos I—II = P.Bub. I, P.Bub. II).

In 1993, the archaeologists of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) discovered the carbonised Petra papyri in a small room adjacent to a Byzantine church they were excavating in Petra, southern Jordan. These carbonised papyri were conserved in Amman by the Finnish papyrological team in 1994-95. The papyri are prepared for publication by two teams: the Papyrus Project team of the Helsinki University and a team from the University of Michigan. The documentary Petra papyri were written in Byzantine Greek and are datable to the 6th century AD. They deal with the property of Theodoros son of Obodianos and his family in Petra and its neighbouring areas. The first publication (The Petra Papyri I) appeared in 2002 and consists of 16 documents. One of the Petra papyri mentions the House of Aaron. This mention launched the Finnish Jabal Harun Project.