The Project

At the request of the Royal Museums of Berlin, between 1906 and 1908 Otto Rubensohn and Friedrich Zucker led targeted excavations for papyri and manuscripts on Elephantine Island, found in the Nile River near the southern border of Egypt. Thereby a total of 632 papyri, 367 ostraca, 7 wooden tablets, 5 palm ribs, and more were found, which today make up part of the papyrus collection of the Berlin Egyptian Museum.

Within the framework of a research project involving the Berlin papyrus collection, entitled The Egyptian and Oriental ’Rubensohn Library of Elephantine’: 4000 years of cultural history of an ancient Egyptian island, approximately 1000 philological objects, in the following referred to as the “Rubensohn Library,“ were restored, scientifically studied, and converted into the digitalized form of an open access database. The textual witnesses to Elephantine cover the span of 4000 years and are conveyed in five different languages and scripts (Hieratic, Demotic, Aramaic, Greek, Coptic, Arabic).

(see Verena M. Lepper. 2012. Die ägyptische und orientalische „Rubensohn-Bibliothek“ von Elephantine. 4000 Jahre Kulturgeschichte einer altägyptischen Insel, in: Verena M. Lepper (Hrsg.), Forschung in der Papyrussammlung. Eine Festgabe für das Neue Museum, Ägyptische und Orientalische Papyri und Handschriften des Ägyptischen Museums und Papyrussammlung Berlin 1, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, pp. 497–508; p. 502.)

The project was supported by the Commissioner of the Federal Council for Culture and Media and by the Governing Mayor of Berlin.