The Institute for Ancient Studies at the University of Cologne has hosted a papyrus collection since the 1950s. It was founded by Joseph Kroll, the Director of the Institute at the time, and Reinhold Merkelbach. The collection in Cologne holds important literary and documentary texts among its over 10,000 items. It belongs, together with the great collections in Berlin, Heidelberg and Leipzig, to one of the most significant institutions of this kind in Germany and the world.
The Centre for Papyrology, Epigraphy and Numismatics, which is closely connected with the collection, was set up jointly by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the University of Cologne in 1972. Here specialists restore, decipher, translate and comment on the papyri belonging to the collection and also carry out research on texts published elsewhere. One of the main areas of concentration of the Centre is Greek Papyrology.
The results of the research undertaken at the Centre appear in the series Papyrologica Coloniensia, supported by the Academy. This series is devoted to the publication of texts belonging to the Cologne collection and to the study of other thematically related papyri. Monographs on papyrological topics are also included.
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hammerstaedt is the present Director of the Centre and successor to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dieter Lebek.
The Cologne Papyrus Collection has been present in Internet since November 1997, making full use of the possibilities afforded by modern information technology from an early stage. The first digital images of published papyri on the World Wide Web go back to March 1998.
The digitization of the Cologne papyri continued on a large scale thereafter thanks to a three-year project set up in 1999 by Prof. Dr. Cornelia Römer, the Curator of the collection at that time, and supported by funds from the German Research Society (DFG) as part of its general programme “Retrospective Digitization of Library Holdings”. Dr. Giuseppina Azzarello, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Römer, was the Project Researcher from 1 July 2000 to 30 September 2002. On 1 September 2003, Dr. Robert Daniel (Director) and Dr. John Lundon (Researcher), took over and brought the project to its conclusion on 31 May 2004. Jens Jüttner was the Technical Assistant for the whole of the three years.
The results of the project can be accessed over the Homepage of the Collection. Short descriptions and images of all published texts belonging to the Cologne collection in the Institute for Ancient Studies and the Department of Egyptology are now available on line (see http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/ifa/NRWakademie/papyrologie/index.html). Cologne papyri published in periodicals, festschrifts and elsewhere are also available. In addition to the published papyri, 2,700 unpublished fragments have also been digitized and posted at the Cologne Website. Among these inedita, there are Greek, Coptic and Demotic texts.
The papyri were scanned between glass at a resolution of 600 dpi. Copies of these high-resolution images are kept on CDs and the hard disks of several of the Centre’s computers for archival purposes. The images in Internet are in JPEG format and have a resolution of 150 or, in case of papyri which are difficult to read, 300 dpi. Each volume of Cologne papyri or each category of text, as for example the Cologne papyri published outside the series, has content pages. It is also possible to order the published papyri in four different ways: by publication number, inventory number, content and provenance.
The digitization of future publications of the Cologne Papyri Series is now to be carried out with the technical support of the Papyrus Portal of Germany, an outgrowth of the Halle-Jena-Leipzig Papyrus Project. The creation of a more detailed and unitary catalogue with extended search capacities is just one of the considerable advantages of this new system.Dr. John Lundon