This collection consists of 23 separate papyrus fragments. Their content includes administrative documents (such as tax receipts and records of property transactions), personal letters, a portion of Saint John's Gospel, and a collection of songs for the flute. Deriving mainly from the third and fourth centuries A.D., the earliest is dated 14 June, A.D. 56 (MS Gen 1026/6).
These documents are a small sample of the thousands of papyrus fragments that were dug up from the rubbish heaps of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt (with the exception of one, MS Gen 1026/23, which was excavated from the town of Fayûm) at the beginning of the 20th Century, in a series of excavations organised by the Egypt Exploration Fund. While most of the fragments were housed in the Sackler Library of Oxford University, in the early years of the project the Egypt Exploration Fund also presented many of the documents to other institutions, including some University libraries. The University of Glasgow acquired its collection in three separate tranches from the Egypt Exploration Fund: 9 fragments donated in 1901, 5 fragments donated from 1904-1915, and a final 9 fragments donated between 1915 and 1924.
For details of the worldwide distribution of the fragments see the Oxford Oxyrhynchus online web pages.
How to find material from the Papyrus Fragments collection
- The fragments have been digitised in their entirety: to view, go to the course material papyrus fragments web pages. Included are descriptions and further background information about the collection.
- Records are available via the Manuscripts search; all items shelved at MS Gen 1026 (click on 'list collection content' to virtually browse holdings).
- The fragment of St John's Gospel is featured in the treasures exhibition .
- The fragments have all been documented and transcribed in The Oxyrhynchus papyri edited with translations and notes by Bernard P Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt; London: Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1898-1981; University of Glasgow Library copy shelved at Level 10 Main Lib Classics P2 OXY vol. 1-66.
- For more general information and background about the papyri, visit the Oxford Oxyrhynchus online web pages.