An experiment through Pinterest

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I am trying to find a way to keep track of papyri and parchments from Egypt appearing on the antiquities market. I have decided to start experimenting Pinterest, which is an easy platform for sharing images. There are a few inconveniences, e.g. the description field is limited to 500 characters and pins are just added chronologically without any possibility to organise an order of your own choice. However, I hope this would be a useful way to store images of manuscripts that otherwise risk to be lost. You probably remember how useful was to have Brice Jones’ old blog post to check the odd collection history of the Galatians 2 papyrus now in the Green/Museum of the Bible collection — if not check my old post A trip to Rome with a detour on eBay, and above all read the summary on what we have understood so far in my recently published article: “Papyri, Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P 39)”, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologysts, 52 (2015), 113-142.

The address of the Pinterest board is:

As I explain in the board’s description, my aim is not that of revealing what the manuscripts contain, but to document the market “as it happens” so to say. As I have already said in an old post, very often the objects in question are far from interesting and mislabelled by dealers to inflate prices.

If you believe this is a good experiment and service, please drop me a message or an email if you know of any sale, and give me some feedback on how to improve the information collected. This is a work in progress!

6 thoughts on “An experiment through Pinterest

  1. A great idea. However, ‘uninteresting’ is a relative term – a fragment here may be a bridge between two items, the whole exceeding the parts. I would therefore hope that the image is as good as possible, so it can be recognised in due course in such a case. By archiving such pieces we may, just may, make them less commercially attractive.
    Cliff Webb

    • Agree, maybe I chose a bad wording: any little fragment is interesting to historians and people who wants to preserve the past. But *on average* what is on the market are fragments very similar to many hundreds in public collections and prospective purchasers should know that the price often paid is out of any logic.

  2. Have you checked out Zotero? The problem with Pinterest is linkrot – eventually, links expire or are changed and if you click on the pinterest pin nothing will happen if that page has been removed. Zotero will save a snapshot of the webpage as is (as well as the link), and you can annotate/organize however you wish. I have a Pinterest board on antiquities trafficking/ethics/looting ( ), however I also save things I do not want to lose with Zotero. You could then use the data to build a database in Access, Excel, dBase – whatever database you want to use.

    • Thank you for the tips! I experimented Zotero for other things but I’ll certainly have a try as you suggest. I also archive webpages through, but not systematically.

    • Thank you for the tip! No I am not able to write programs I am just an enthusiastic user of what I find already available. But since this is a pilot for applying for funding for a bigger project your suggestion is very useful. Thanks again.

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