Spectral imaging at the John Rylands Library

The Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care (CHICC) of the John Rylands Library has experimented recently spectral imaging technologies on some papyri and other manuscripts. You can read a report on the experiment and see some images from here.

Among the pieces processed there are some samples of the carbonised papyri from Thmuis (modern Tell el Timai), which are scattered nowadays in different collections; those in the Rylands Library were purchased on the antiquity market and come from unofficial excavations (see Catalogue of the Greek and Latin Papyri in the John Rylands Library, vol. II, pp. 290-292). These documents are particularly important because of the location of Thmuis in the Delta region, where few papyri were found since the humidity of the area.

Is Cottonopolis back?

The Manchester Evening News is reporting a plan to revive the textile industry in Greater Manchester, the Victorian Cottonopolis. The article explains how UK manufacturing industries are trying to revive this old tradition based in the North West.

Faces&Voices really like the idea since it was cotton that linked Manchester and Egypt. The Rylands, Haworth and other merchants and manufacturer not only bought extraordinary ancient artifacts from Egypt, but also had commercial interests there. Rylands & Sons established an agency in Alexandria in 1879, ten years after the opening of the Suez channel and three years before the establishing of the English protectorate over Egypt.

The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894 transforming Manchester into an international city port. It is through this gate that the Egyptian cotton was distributed to the city and surrounding region mills.  Egyptian cotton became especially important during the American civil war, which caused a collapse of the import from that country.

Despite the many shadows of that era, let’s hope that with Cottonopolis some positive Victorian attitudes towards wealth, public share and the importance of the humanities will come back.