Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection
2 May 2012
The Papyrus Collection presents 6,000 documents from ancient Egypt in an online database
Caption parchment sheet - psalm from the Septuagint (seventh - eighth centuries CE)
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Papyrussammlung
As a part of its digitalisation project, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection of the National Museums in Berlin will make 6,000 texts available in an online database by autumn 2013. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The database offers both scholars of antiquity and the general public access to high-quality images of objects and relevant information, as well as further opportunities for research. As Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) notes: "This database exemplifies the great opportunities the digitalisation of cultural property can offer. Extremely fragile objects can be seen by a vast number of people interested. This would have been very difficult in the museum, if not impossible".
The project emphasises the SPK's commitment to digitalising large portions of its collection and making them accessible to the public - from any place, at any time, and free of charge. In the coming months, the data collected from the Papyrus Collection will be entered into the "SPK Digital" portal and the German Digital Library (DDB). Within the coming year, the DDB will release a beta version with a database including approximately six million objects.
The "Berlin Papyrus Database (BerlPap)" already includes 650 objects, many of which have been imaged for the first time. The Papyrus Collection's project director, Fabian Reiter, hopes that financial support will be renewed. That way, other exhibits could be added to the database, and objects that have not yet been researched or restored and are still in the original containers from their excavation sites, would be accessible.
The National Museums in Berlin's Papyrus Collection comprises tens of thousands of inscribed papyri, 7,000 ostraca (inscribed clay fragments), and over 1,000 parchments. As such it is the most important papyrus collection in Germany and is one of the five largest collections of its kind in the world.