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Grammar Exercises & Shopping Lists: 'Pottery Notepads' Found at Ancient City Ruins in Egypt

CC0 / / Archaeology Tools
Archaeology Tools  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.02.2022
The writings on the recovered shards reportedly include “lists of months, numbers, arithmetic problems, grammar exercises” and a so-called 'bird alphabet'.
Archaeologists have gained new insight into the lives of those who lived in the ancient Egyptian city of Athribis millennia ago, thanks to the discovery of thousands of inscribed pieces of pottery that were apparently used for taking notes.
According to Science Alert, some 18,000 of these shards, known as ostraca, have been cataloged by researchers.
The shards are thought to have been used on a daily basis in ancient Egypt to “detail shopping lists, record trades, copy literature and teach students how to write and draw”, with a large number of ostracas discovered at Athribis found at what was apparently once a school, the media outlet notes.
"There are lists of months, numbers, arithmetic problems, grammar exercises and a 'bird alphabet' – each letter was assigned a bird whose name began with that letter," says Egyptologist Christian Leitz from the University of Tübingen in Germany.
A similarly large discovery was reportedly made in the 1900s at the ancient village of Deir el-Medina, where thousands of similarly inscribed shards were found by archaeologists.
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While the Deir el-Medina shards mostly consist of notes about medicine and medical practices, the pieces found at Athribis site afford a better glimpse of “what daily life was like in one of the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world”, the media outlet adds.
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