who is the 'middlesex lady' who is selling her papyri collection via timeline auctions? several examples!' Apparently this 'Middlesex lady' acquired everything two decades ago from a dealer who was trading the contents of a collection formed in the 1980s. The manuscripts include:
Lot 83: Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD.A large fragment of papyrus with demotic text to both sides
Lot 84: Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Group Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD A large fragment of papyrus with eighteen lines of Greek text
Lot 86: Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Group Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD. A group of two papyrus fragments with demotic text written in ink to both sides
Lot 87: Egyptian Papyrus Scroll Group Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD A group of three rolled papyrus documents with demotic text written in inkLot 88: Egyptian Coptic Manuscript 18th-19th century AD.
Lot 1337 Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Group Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD A group of ten fragments of papyrus with Greek text
Lot 1338, Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Group : Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD. A group of eleven papyrus fragments with Greek text Lot 1339 Egyptian Papyrus Page Fragment Group Ptolemaic to Roman Period, 4th century BC-4th century AD. A group of fifteen papyrus fragments with Greek text written in ink,
ot 310: Western Asiatic Inscribed Sword of King Ninurta-nadin-Šumi ['supplied with detailed report by M[ark] Weeden, SOAS'] and 'Lot No. 0729 Western Asiatic Bactrian Cylinder Seal with Animals'. Anonymous Middlesex ladies with an interest in Egyptian Coptic civilization and its predecessors might be unfazed by buying artefacts coming from that region reportedly in the '1980s'. I'd say concerns about buying in 2007 an item coming (presumably) from southern Iraq in the 1980s should arouse some qualms, as well as a cylinder seal potentially from Afghanistan (or neighbouring areas) which could have left the source region during the 1979-1989 Soviet–Afghan War or the 1989-1996 civil war is highly dubious behaviour.
What would this lady's collection have looked like? What about that collection (or is it collections?) from which all the items were reportedly acquired? Here is an attempt to present all the items the dealer says are from both:
What was this lady thinking? How would this 'collection' have been used, and how was it stored and displayed? (Most of it consists of tatty manuscript scraps.) What do collectors do with all the items they accumulate? This is not a collection put together as the result of random bleeps of a metal detector, both collectors (in the 1980s and the Middlesex Lady) put this group of items together by selecting them individually from a larger pool of objects on the market. What were the reasons, emotions, incentives, behind these decisions? Surely if archaeologists in Britain are treating collectors of portable antiquities as their 'partners', we ought to be gaining a much better understanding of the processes by which these collections are being built up. What are the intellectual consequences of this activity and the manner in which it is currently carried out? Why are British archaeologists so slow to study the taphonomy of collections like this and what it says of this 'partnership'?