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MS Ostraca

Ostraca, 300 B.C.E. - circa 300: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MS Ostraca
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Ostraca, 300 B.C.E. - circa 300.
Date(s): 300.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 linear feet (32 items)
Language of materials: In Greek, Coptic, and Demotic.
Abstract: Greek, Demotic, and Coptic ostraca (sherds of pottery used for writing) from Elephantine and Syene.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Transferred from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.


H. W. Haynes of Boston (inv. 3154-3172), who collected the pieces in the vicinity of the First Cataract on the Nile in 1878-1879.
Source of the remaining items is unknown.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Leslie Morris

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Ostraca, 300 B.C.E. - circa 300 (MS Ostraca). Houghton Library, Harvard University.


The Haynes collection (inv. 3154-3172) was first published by: Edgar J. Goodspeed, "Greek Ostraca in America," The American journal of philology 25/1 (1904): 45-58, cited as O. Haynes. The remaining Greek ostraca were published by: Gerald M. Browne, "Ostraca Harvardiana," Harvard studies in classical philology 76 (1972): 245-258, cited as O. Harv. Additional references cited below include: O. Wilb. = Les Ostraca grecs de la collection Charles-Edwin Wilbour au Musée de Brooklyn, edited by C. Preaux (New York, 1935)SB = Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Aegypten, edited by F. Preisigke et al. (Strassburg, 1915- )W.O. = Griechische Ostraka aus Aegypten und Nubien, edited by U. Wilcken (Leipzig-Berlin, 1889)


Arranged by inventory number assigned by the Fogg Art Museum.

Scope and Contents

Includes 32 ostraca (earthenware potsherd fragments) from Elephantine and Syene (Aswān) at the First Cataract of the Nile River, comprising accounts, receipts, and poll taxes in Greek, Coptic and Demotic languages.

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