The digital palaeography

Whereas Egyptology has produced various individual palaeographies in book form over the last 100 years, the project will gradually compose a digital palaeography that encompasses the entire sign repertoire of the cursive scripts over approximately 3000 years, providing extensive metadata about the sources and signs. First, the information is collected and recorded in an internal project database, which will be published online and will be accessible via "open acces" in a second step. As such, all information on the cursive characters, the text sources, date, origin, type of text, and so forth can be researched and used at any time.

Section from a palaeography with forms for the phonetic value m, from: Verhoeven, Untersuchungen zur späthieratischen Buchschrift, OLA 99, Leuven 2001.

In addition to the approximately 600 individual characters of the hieratic script which, like hieroglyphic signs, consist of a combination of phonograms and ideograms, there will also be entries on numbers, measures, ligatures, correction or readers' marks, and special orthographies.

The cooperation of Egyptologists, computer scientists, and computer philologists creates an interdisciplinary approach that explores the digital aspects, problems, and the opportunities that Humanities research has to offer in all its diversity.


Since the database should cover the entire period of Ancient Egyptian cursive scripts and the numerous sources are very diverse in form, content, and palaeography, sometimes difficult to decipher, a close cooepration with Egyptologists on an international level is indispensible. Colleagues all over the world, who edit a text in one of the cursive scripts, can provide the AKU Project with their new palaeographic material. The copyright is maintained and the editor specified, while the new material is taken into the database to complement the existing data and increase the possibilities for analysis. In turn, the AKU Project can offer its cooperation partners new and better options for search, comparison, and evaluation of the palaeographic material than the previous scattered and disparate palaeographies could, even before the online publication of the database. We are looking forward to your cooperation and are available for further questions.