Wooden mummy label

Achmim, Egypt, Roman Period, ca 210
Ostracon. 141

On this side there is Greek text incised into the wood and on the other are two lines of text written in ink in Demotic Egyptian. Mummy labels were common funerary objects in the Graeco-Roman era. Bodies were regularly transported from the home to the cemetery, or, if the person died away from home, back to their village, identified with a label such as this one. The labels, made from wood or stone, provided details such as name, age and home-town of the deceased. For poorer people the labels replaced traditional stone stelae. The Greek text translates as: ‘Haryotes, son of Hatres, whose mother is Thermuthis, from Nesos Apollinariados, Year 18, Pharmouthi 23’. This example was given to the Library in 1890 by the Revd Greville Chester (1830–92), collector of antiquities and friend of Sir Flinders Petrie.

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See also : Vleeming, S.P. Demotic and Greek-Demotic mummy labels and other short texts gathered from many publications, Peeters, 2011,  p. 523.