After d-scribes, EGRAPSA project (June 2023 - May 2028)

Thanks to an SNSF Starting Grant, the exploratory work investigated in d-scribes project will be pursued in a larger and more complex perspective. In June 2023 will start in Basel the project entitled "EGRAPSA: Retracing the evolutions of handwritings in Graeco-Roman Egypt thanks to digital palaeography".

EGRAPSA lay summary:
Papyri preserved by the dry climate of Egypt are an unparalleled source of information on the Ancient World. Around 80,000 papyri written in ancient Greek have already been published, covering a millennium between the time of Alexander the Great and the Arab conquest of Egypt (end of 4th c. BCE to early 8th c. CE). However, their large number, their diversity and their current dispersion have impeded a comprehensive grasp of their nature and content. In particular, palaeography, as the study of handwritings that has the potential to unveil who, where and when a text has been written, still relies on experts’ assertions which rarely reach consensus. New technological advances in Computer Science allow now building the big picture of the writing culture of Greco-Roman Egypt and developing scientific analyses of scripts. The goal of EGRAPSA project (literally "I have written" in Ancient Greek) is to provide a new theoretical framework to the palaeography of Greek papyri. Starting from sound evidence, it aims at retracing the evolutions of handwritings, generating a model that, in turn, can contribute at organizing the papyrological documentation in a coherent panorama, improving the solidity of dates and writer identifications made on palaeographical grounds. The ground-breaking dimension of the project is not only in its scope that encompasses the entire papyrological documentation in its complexity, and in its conceptual approach to make sense of the plurality of scripts by discerning evolution phenomena but also in its methodological choice to measure similarities and explain evolutions by focusing on the reconstruction of the dynamics of writing, thus to literally re-trace handwritings.