The campaign for studying the past, securing the future

A call to sustain our digital tools in papyrology

Ancient papyri are the earliest and largest corpus of documents from the ancient world. They have made a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean, including everyday life, administrative and legal dynamics, political change and literary production.

For many years, scholars active in the field of papyrology have benefited from a wide range of reliable tools in print. In the digital revolution, papyrologists have taken the lead in establishing new tools that serve the scientific community. We take pride both in the high standards of scholarship offered by such instruments, and in the fact that the underlying data are freely available to all as an open access repository. Among the various digital tools which papyrologists use on a daily basis, no doubt holds the most essential position, while other important devices revolve around it.

Can we take all this for granted?

Certainly not.

Funding agencies have become reluctant to support projects that, essentially, have no time limit. While this can be partly compensated by the input made directly by the community of scientists, still requires monitoring on a daily basis to channel these efforts.

The Association Internationale de Papyrologues (AIP) and the American Society of Papyrologists (ASP) are launching a joint call to establish an endowment to cover the salary for the permanent, full-time position of coordinator. The endowment’s target is set at 2.5 million USD, of which $500,000 has already been secured in matching funds, thanks to the generosity of one of our donors. We appeal to the further generosity of all individuals, institutions and funding agencies, asking them to help us to ensure that scholars and students in papyrology and related disciplines can continue to benefit from this important resource over the coming decades. The target is realistic, provided that all members of the scientific community contribute to the effort; but if we do not act promptly, the sustainability of this essential tool will soon be severely threatened.

Please help us to secure the future for the next generation of papyrologists, be generous, and encourage your friends and colleagues to join us in supporting this call.

Prof. Sofia Torallas Tovar
University of Chicago
ASP Representative

Prof. Paul Schubert
University of Geneva
AIP President

Duke University
Department of Classical Studies
233 Allen Building, PO Box 90103
Durham, NC 27708-0103

Association Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth
Parc du Cinquantenaire 10
B-1000 Bruxelles

New York University
20 Cooper Square
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003