Exploring Duke University and the University of Cologne’s Papyrus Collections

Sinja Küppers is studying the Duke Papyrus Collection and the Papyrus Collection of the University of Cologne, both of which have a long history in the acquisition of papyri. The two collections share papyri of the same provenance and even fragments from the same bookroll. Prominent examples of documentary and literary papyri of common origin in both collections are the Ammon fragments split among the papyrus collections in Cologne, Florence, and Duke, and the fragment of Leucippe and Clitophon.

This common history makes it even more important to cite and organize records and supporting documents, such as letters, that document the provenance of individual papyri and the modern migration of these ancient manuscripts. Therefore, the goal of this project is to access and cite archival material documenting the sale and transfer of papyri that helps to create a registrar of the provenance of the papyri fragments currently hosted in Durham and Cologne. This archival material involves documents related to Anton Fackelmann and Michael Fackelmann, who were active at the University of Cologne and from whom Duke University purchased papyri. This project would build on the work of Nicholas Wagner who has transcribed the correspondence of W. H. Willis and Fackelmann stored at Duke.

Update: Sinja has been collaborating with the Cologne Papyrus Archive, specifically working with PD Dr. Charikleia Armoni, to trace the provenance of papyri that were or are in Duke’s possession. The shared correspondence between stakeholders involved in interinstitutional papyri loans in the 20th century documents the modern movement and acquisition of papyri. It also brings the collaborations between papyrologists across continents to life, including itineraries and guest lectures. Sinja has been looking at at the correspondence between Duke (Prof. W.H. Willis, University Provost Jerry D. Campbell) and the “Kölner Arbeitsstelle” (Prof. Dieter Hagedorn, Prof. Reinhold Merkelbach) in the 1980s. In doing so, she has discovered that there has been a long lasting relationship between these two institutions concerning papyri. Sinja has been specifically working on P. Inv. 1280 or the “Ammon Papyrus.” This item is part of the Ammon archive, consists of joint fragments from Duke and Cologne, and is on an indefinite loan to Duke. It is written in ancient Greek and is possibly from Alexandria or Panopolis. She has been collaborating with Nick Wagner, the Lab’s Graduate Coordinator, and Michael Freeman, a Graduate Affiliate.