Monday, November 18, 2019

Another 101 Papyri Missing from the EES

EES has announced that 120 pieces of papyri are missing from a limited number of folders(!) We know that hitherto 13 pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, another 6 in the collection of Andrew Stimer, but there is another 101 pieces to track down!
     Below I cite the statement from the chairman of the EES to the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) on its annual general meeting on 16th November (HT: Brent Nongbri):

Chairman’s statement to EES members

The following statement was provided to members of the EES during the Society's AGM on 16th November 2019:
Investigation of the Society’s collection of papyri from Oxyrhynchus, which is estimated to hold some half a million fragments, has to date identified around 120 pieces which appear to be missing, almost all from a limited number of folders; it is possible that a few more cases may emerge. So far 13 of the missing pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington and another 6 in the collection of Mr Andrew Stimer in California, and both collections are returning these texts to the EES. The EES is working with the University of Oxford and the police to establish how the papyri located in these and any other collections came to be removed and sold. While the police investigation is in progress, the EES cannot comment further on these matters, but will report on developments as and when it is possible.
Meanwhile the editorial team is working as usual to prepare new volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri for the Graeco-Roman Memoirs of the EES. Because the investigation has delayed editorial work, we regret that the forthcoming volume LXXXV, due in 2018/19, is now expected in early 2020. The EES is also working with Oxford University to enhance the current accommodation of the collection and to determine how best to ensure its care and publication into the next generation.


  1. A new spin on Matthew 18:12-13: "What do you think? If a man has a half-million fragments, and 120 of them go astray, does he not leave the 499,880 and go to the mountains to seek the 120 that are straying? And if he should find them, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that 120 than over the 499,880 that did not go astray."

  2. No name given to the Chairman, or to any body else. Who was asleep at the wheel on this one?