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Papyrus: making a papyrus roll

When the papyrus sheets were dry they could be joined to make rolls. One sheet was placed over another, overlapping one or two centimetres. To fix the sheets some kind of glue seems to have been used. The overlap (called 'kollesis') were always in the same direction: if the first sheet is laid over a second, then the second will be laid over the third (not under it), and so on.

There seems to have been a standard 20 sheets to a roll. Larger rolls could then be made by joining these together, and rolls could also be divided, so not every papyrus contains 20 sheets.

Lahun papyrus, late Middle Kingdom: on the left the overlap or join ('kollesis') is visible.



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