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The Use of Documents in Pharaonic Egypt$
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Christopher Eyre

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673896

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673896.001.0001

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Process, Storage, and Record

Process, Storage, and Record

(p.253) 7 Process, Storage, and Record
The Use of Documents in Pharaonic Egypt

Christopher Eyre

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the evidence for writing, issue, and storage of documents, administrative and legal, in official bureaux: in particular the bureaux of the vizier, of the herald, and in ‘places of writing’. It discusses the role of seals and sealed documents, and examines the evidence for storage of documents and reference to old texts. It argues that such reference is typically a literary motif emphasizing high cultural values, but that reference to legal or administrative archives for purposes of business was largely impractical, in the absence of clear evidence for effective and deliberate archive storage aimed at such processes of reference to file. The importance of private archive, and of the control of official documents by the scribes who wrote them, is emphasized, as is the lack of evidence that would point to any form of public record archive. The deliberate destruction of writing represents a social rejection of hierarchical authority as well as the deliberate destruction of evidence of property rights.

Keywords:   ancient writings, archive, bureaucracy, docket, file, law, office, seal, written culture

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