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November 18, 2019

At least 120 pieces of papyri appear to be missing from the Egypt Exploration Society collection

 Papyrus from the EES Collection
Graeco-Roman Memoir 103/Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXXII
In continuing their internal investigation surrounding the illegal sale of papyri from their collection, The Egypt Exploration Society (EES) has issued a statement to members of Society at the Annual Gathering Meeting (AGM) which took place on 16th November 2019.  During that meeting, they indicated that it has determined that at least 120 pieces of papyri from Oxyrhynchus appear to be missing, from the EES collection, almost all from a specific group of folders.  

The EES collection is estimated to hold some half a million fragments so reviewing what is missing may take a considerable amount of time.  Previously it was announced that 13 of the missing pieces were determined to be in the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.  An additional 6 fragments were located with a collector, Andrew Stimer in California.

This is the first time that the EES has mentioned that they are cooperating with the University of Oxford and the police to try to determine how papyri from their collection were illicitly sold on the art market. 

The EES stated that while the police investigation is in progress, they will not comment further "but will report on developments as and when it is possible."