In order to provide a reliable point of reference for the investigation of ancient writing, PapPal collects dated examples of hands from the 3rd c. BC to the 8th c. AD, mainly from Greco-Roman Egypt. Because many ancient documents preserved on papyrus are dated to the very day on which they were recorded, viewing them together brings out features that were typical of a time and, in some cases, of a place of writing. Furthermore, as no two hands are identical, comparison of a range of contemporary scripts also illuminates the variety of writing styles that existed.
PapPal permits users to browse images by several different categories: year, provenance, title, keyword, material and language/script. Images can be viewed either as a list in which thumbnails are displayed in rows or as a slideshow. Links accompanying each text direct the user to the project that hosts the image as well as to a transcription at www.papyri.info.