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Trove of inscribed pottery reveals details of daily life in ancient Egypt

A joint German-Egyptian archeological mission has found a large number of pottery fragments inscribe with revealing texts about daily life in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

CAIRO — A joint German-Egyptian mission has discovered more than 18,000 pottery shards called ostraca dating to the Ptolemaic period and the beginning of the Roman era. The discovery, announced Feb. 8, was made during excavations in the area of ​​Sheik Hamad near the Temple of Athribis, in the west of Sohag governorate.

According to researchers at the University of Tubingen, Germany, the 2,000-year-old inscriptions on pottery fragments of broken jars offer details of ancient Egyptian life. They include lists of deities, menus and trade information, as well as grammar exercises and arithmetic problems for children, including lines apparently written as punishment by misbehaving students.

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