4456 entries. 93 themes. Last updated October 19, 2014.

The Oldest Known Papyrus Roll - Blank (Circa 2,900 BCE)


The hieroglyphic name of Hemaka, highlighted in red.

"The ancient Egyptians had used rolls made of papyrus from the early days of the Old Kingdom. The oldest known papyrus roll was found in the tomb of Hemaka in Saqqara, and dates to the 1st dynasty, around 2900 BC. The hieroglyph for 'papyrus roll' existed already in inscriptions from this period. The 1st dynasty roll was blank; the oldest examples with writing dated from the 4th and 5th dynasties" (Roemer, "The Papyrus Roll in Egypt, Greece, and Rome," Eliot & Rose (eds) A Companion to the History of the Book [2007] 84).