Papyri retrieved from mummy cartonnage: a video

"I figured about about 65 classical texts…"Dr. Scott Carroll in Mexico, September 2013

“I figured about 65 classical texts…”Dr. Scott Carroll in Mexico, September 2013

As the readers of my blog know, I am a big fan of Dr Scott Carroll, formerly on the payroll of the Green Collection (2009-2012) and recently collaborating with the evangelical apologist Josh McDowell, as you can read in a recent post of Brice C. Jones. I am fascinated by this Indiana Jones of Biblical Studies, as I have explained in an old post, and desperate to meet him in person.

At the moment, I am just following his adventures on the web. I know that a meeting with him would be an amazing experience, as I understand while watching the faces of people gathering en masse for his talks in the videos I am now religiously collecting for my amusement.

However, I found this particular video of an event organised by the University of the Nations for a workshop in Mexico last September 2013 a bit concerning. Here Scott, after having explained what his and his wife’s organisation (I guess the Scott Carroll Manuscripts & Rare Books and The Manuscript Research Group) do, starts moving around what do seem glazed papyrus fragments and other artefacts. Then he addresses the fascinating topic of papyri from mummy cartonnage. He jokes about the smell of mummy cartonnage over the house stove to the despair of his wife, and alludes to the scams you may find on eBay looking for cartonnage. Finally, he explains how to extract papyrus fragments from mummy cartonnage showing images from his computer. He says that the procedure he shows through what seems to be powerpoint slides – that you can see in the screen shots I took from min. 24:40 onwards in the video (see below), but I really recommend to watch the video itself – was performed at Baylor University (Texas) where, he asserts, he had an appointment. Unless he is lying, which I cannot believe because he is a good Christian, he must refer to the days when he was working for the Green Collection and the Green Scholars Initiative, since Baylor University has been collaborating with both at least from September 2011. In fact, an event lead by Scott Carroll consisting into the dismounting of a mummy mask for obtaining papyri took place at Baylor University and involved professors and students of the Department of Classics on September 9, 2011, as reported in the Bulletin of the Department (pp. 1-2).

Can you help me tracking down this Indiana Jones of Biblical Studies for an interview (and a picture with autograph, obviously)? Can you add details, corrections or integration to the information retrieved so far? Were you part of the public for any of these scholarly or wider audience events? I’d love to hear from you…

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 12.04.24

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 12.04.53

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 12.04.47


13 thoughts on “Papyri retrieved from mummy cartonnage: a video

  1. Fascinating. Grenfell and Hunt and a multitude of others must be turning in their graves. I cannot download the VIMEO piece from here (Africa) but will follow avidly your own followup. On the link, I see your post is referenced (re – another indiana jones). Hum.
    For those wanting a bit of background on the place of mummy cartonnages / both from people and crocodiles – , here/s an introductory page link for the Tebtunis Papyri Collection, at UC Berkeley (I was a curator while a grad student at Berkeley) – a quote, on the place of used mss in the making of cartonnages –

    … documents [described here are] from the first half of the first century BC. These texts came from five crocodile mummies that had been buried in two adjacent tombs, strongly suggesting that this was the result of one burial.

    Along with these Greek papyri, a few demotic and bilingual papyri were found in the crocodiles. These demotic and bilingual papyri probably originally belonged to the priests of the crocodile god Soknebtunis, who mummified the crocodiles, and who used their own waste papyri in the mummification process, as well as papyri belonging to other people, such as Menches, thevillage scribe of Kerkeosiris.

    The priests of Soknebtunis also buried large demotic papyri alongside the crocodile mummies,possibly as offerings to Soknebtunis. These demotic papyri contained the annual rules of the fraternity of priests…

  2. Can/t download the UTube piece, either… Wondering if there is a Mormon dimension here, vis-a-vis the mummy cartonnage. Am sharing with some other Egyptol. and graeco-roman buffs. Hum, we need also to be aware of sales from Egypt of illicit mummies during the current unsettled times. Oh, got a bit of the Utube link downloaded – yuck. talking about the mss from the *lost library of Alexandria* and etc … not good.

  3. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any tips and hints for first-time blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Dear Maybell,

      I am sorry but I don’t find your previous message, it must be lost somewhere!
      I am not an expert on blogging, I am afraid, I’m just a teacher of the University of Manchester that uses blogging to discuss research with the widest possible audience. I don’t have special tips but maybe three suggestions: be yourself, write on something you’re passionate about, write short posts and short sentences.

      Good luck!


  4. Pingback: A Bible museum is a good idea. The one that’s opening is not. – News World Club

  5. Pingback: A Bible museum is a good idea. The one that’s opening is not. – Kopitiam Bot

  6. Pingback: Hobby Lobby, which smuggled antiquities for Bible Museum, will return the artifacts to Iraq –

  7. Good Christians and bad Christians lie all the time, it is called original sin, and refusing to dig deeper into claims because someone is a christian is not only bad academic and journalistic work, it is actually not biblically sound. Therefore, due to one claim, all of your article is now suspect and needs to be verified by independent sources. Being a christian shouldn’t mean sloppy academic work. Thank you for proving why the work of so many American Christians should be checked, verifies and scrutinized maybe harder than others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s