Aug 19, 2010

The Greatest Hits of Ancient Garbage

What can a 1,000 years worth of trash tell us about ancient human behavior? Dirk Obink, Director of research and professor of papyrology and classics at Oxford, tells us about the "mother lode" of 2,000 year old paper found in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in 1896 by two Oxford graduate students , B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. A find so big, it’s beyond the scale of one human lifetime to translate it all. Deciphering fragments that look like cornflakes and sentences that break off right before they tell you want you need to know, Obink and his colleagues find enough secrets to rewrite the past. The “greatest hits of ancient garbage” may just change your mind about Jesus, porn, and what it means to be a hero. It might even convince you to change your tattoo.

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