Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 43 (2006) 113-137 Ostraca from Western Thebes Provenance and History of the Collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Columbia University' Elisabeth R. O'Connell University of California Berkeley Abstract This paper is an attempt to localize published and unpublished Coptic ostraca within their archaeological contexts, in part taking up a challenge in recent work on texts and material culture (e.g., T. Gagos, J.E. Gates, and A.T. Wilburn, "Material Culture and Texts of GraecoRoman Egypt: Creating Context, Debating Meaning," BASP 42 [2005] 171-188). In its focus on material excavated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is intended to complement the work of T.G. Wilfong on material excavated at Medinet Habu by the Oriental Institute ("Western Thebes in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries: A Bibliographic Survey of Jdme and its Surroundings," BASP 26 [1989] 89-145). The following report has two central goals: first, to localize groups of ostraca, formerly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (henceforth, "MMA" or "the Museum") and now at Columbia University, within the Theban landscape; and second, to demonstrate the breadth of archaeological sites represented by these collections. This paper results in part from work undertaken in spring, 2005, and aims to serve as a reference guide for the MMA and the Columbia University library staff and for future scholars working in these two collections. The Egyptian Antiquities Service also assigned a good number of ostraca excavated by the MMAs Egyptian Expedition to the Egyptian Museum (Cairo); 'For access to the collections, and for their guidance and hospitality, I thank Helen Evans and Christine Brennan in the Medieval Department, MMA; Dorothea Arnold and Marsha Hill in the Egyptian Department, MMA; Roger Bagnall, Rafaella Cribiore and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library staff at Columbia University; and Jaromir Malek, Alison Hobby, and Elizabeth Fleming, Griffith Institute Archive, Oxford.
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