The town dumps of ancient Oxyrhynchus remained intact right up to the late nineteenth century. They didnt look exciting, just a series of mounds covered with drifting sand. But they offered ideal conditions for preservation. In this part of Egypt it never rains; perishables which are above the reach of ground water will survive. In the dumps was something which the famous sites of classical Greece and Italy could not preserve: papyrus, the ancient equivalent of paper.
The rubbish mounds of Oxyrhynchus
Papyrus meant two things: documents and books. On both scores, these Greeks on the Egyptian fringe could fill blanks in the record.
Back / Next / Back to start