REISNER George Andrew, The Hearst Medical Papyrus - 1905

University of California Publications - Egyptian archaeology 01. J.C. Hinrichs, Leipzig, 1905. First edition. Folio, v & 48 pages, 17 plates.


I. Provenance of the Hearst Medical Papyrus. In the spring o f 1901, a roll of papyrus was brought t o the camp o f the Hearst Egyptian Expedition near Dêr-d-Ballàs by a peasant o f the village as a mark o f his thanks a t being allowed to take seba4 from our dump-heaps near the northern kom. I n my absence at Girga, he left the roll with Lythgoe until I should return. He said that he had found the roll while dig- ging for sebak two years before, that be had put it away in a cupboard in his house and forgotten it. H e had found the roll in a pot among the house walls between the southern kom and the southern cemetery. There was nothing else in the pot except titis one roll. H i s description of the pot did rot enable us to identify its type. In my opinion, considering the man, there can be no reason t o doubt these statements. T h e man attached no value to the papyrus. H e did rot corne again until sent for six months later; and he gratefully accepted the price given him without any attempt whatever at bargaining. The roll was brought t o Lythgoe, brutally tied up i n the end o f a native head-cloth (.3crtga), and had, o f course, been carried i n a similar marner from the place where i t was found t o the village. T h e damage done t o pages XV I to XVIII which were on the outside o f the roll was due t o titis treatment. T h e pieces broken off during the trip from the seba4 digging t o the village were lost; but those broken off during the trip t o the house, were rescued from the folds o f the head-clotit by Lythgoe. On my return t o Dér-el-Ballâs, the papyrus was unrolled by Dr. Borchardt and myself. T h e roll had rot been opened since antiquity as was manifest in the set o f the turns, the fine dust, Relenes, Hearst medical papyrus.

and the casts of insects. T h e beginning o f the roll was inside. I n the middle of the first page preserved, the papyrus had been tom in two in antiquity and rolled up with the tom page inside. The roll as preserved contains eighteen co- lumns or parts of columns. T h e pages are rot numbered.* So it is impossible to estimate with any certainty the original size o f the papyrus. Personally I doubt whether more than one o r two pages are lost. T h e width o f the strip of papyrus averages about 17,2 cm. T h e width of the different columns varies from 18 cm to 23 cm. Judging by the script, the papyrus must be dated to about the same period as the Ebers (i. e. previous to the 9th year o f Amenophis I). The houses at Dênel-Ballàs excavated by us were ail either of the period between the twelfth and the eighteenth dynasties inclusive o r o f the Coptic period. A s the Coptic period is out of the que- stion, the provenance of the papyrus as well as its script points to the period between the twelfth and eigtheenth dynasties as the period in which the Hearst papyrus was written. II. Contents. The Hearst papyrus was first examined by Dr. Borchardt and myself. Borchardt immediately recognized its similarity t o the Ebers' papyrus. I, thereupon, sent Prof. Schâfer in Berlin a pho- tograph of page XI. Schâfer immediately retur- ned a transliteration and translation of this page with notes giving the parallel references to Ebers wherever they existed. Th i s made it clear that the papyrus was similar to Ebers but rot a du- plicate of it. * The red 1 on page V is probably only a correction.

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