In February 2022, archaeologists discovered over 18,000 Egyptian ostraca in Athribis. The news was full of headlines about pottery fragments, and everyone knew what a big deal it was. But the road to such an awareness has been long. It has taken years to discover, analyse and understand the relevance of what ostraca are, and what they signify. Even today, historians and Egyptologists continue to approach the extant evidence to reiterate the cultural narratives they reveal. Here is what we know about them.
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Ancient Egyptian Ostraca in the Altes Museum, Berlin. Photo: Hans Ollermann/Flickr