Centre of Excellence in Research

Academy of Finland has selected the new Centres of Excellence in Research for period 2000-2005.

One of the accepted is the study centre of 'Ancient and Medieval Greek Documents, Archives and Libraries' consisting of three research projects:

The group is leaded by Dr. Jaakko Frösen, Department of Classics at the University of Helsinki.

The research unit 'Ancient and Mediaeval Greek Documents, Archives and Libraries' consists of three major projects: 1. The Project for Saving and Publishing Greek Papyri (PGP), 2. The Finnish Jabal Harun/Monastery of Aaron Archaeological Project (FJHP), and 3. The Project for Saving The Library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria (GOPAL).

The saving, publishing, interpreting and re-checking of written source-material is an essential and necessary part of all basic research focusing on the antiquity. The source material consists of mediaeval manuscripts - often copied several times - (codicology and textual criticism), ancient inscriptions (epigraphy) and papyri including texts on other related materials (papyrology). Of all these branches, publishing the papyri is methodologically the most demanding, since it requires mastering the methodology of all three other branches. Papyrus texts cover the whole wide spectre of all human activities: private correspondence, notes, receipts and agreements written by private individuals, and official documents from the archives of all sectors and levels of administration, and as well literature. For a better understanding of the texts written on organic material (papyrus and parchment) a better understanding of the ancient archives and libraries - institutions as well as buildings - is indispensable.

The purpose of all the projects of the research unit is to save, conserve, and publish, as well as to interprete as much as possible new texts of ancient inscriptions and manuscripts and hence make them available to other scholars. Focus has been specially on the texts that have been previously undeservedly neglected, since they were considered too difficult and time-consuming because of the material itself (mummy cartonnages), its state of preservation (carbonized papyri), or because of their contents. In bringing these scripts finally into attention of scholars, conservation methods and methodological issues are essential.

Updated 16th December 1999 - Authors