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The large-scale discovery and acquisition of Greek papyri in Egypt, by excavation and purchase, from the 1890s onwards resulted in the export of huge numbers of texts to Europe and North America. In the process archives of related texts from particular sites were dispersed and many remain fragmented and only partially published. It seems clear that a detailed reconstruction of the process of acquisition of papyri from Egypt by excavation and through the antiquities market would allow connections to be re-established between groups of texts that have become dispersed and lead to advances in our knowledge of the archaeology and documentation of Egypt.

To this end and following a recent pilot project undertaken by Dr. Willy Clarysse of the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven (, the CSAD has compiled a complete gazetteer, as far as is practicable, of the source, content and location of papyrus collections in libraries, museums, universities and private ownership in Britain, describing holdings, provenance, circumstances of acquisition and archival elements. The gazetteer is organised as a database in electronic form, maintained, updated and made publicly available through the CSAD website.