Ancient Greek papyrus in UNESCO’s Memory of the World program

An ancient Greek papyrus roll, the Derveni papyrus, is the first Greek item to be included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World program, announced the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, where the item is been displayed. The papyrus is considered Europe's oldest surviving readable manuscript and it was found in pieces in 1962 in Derveni, an area near the city of Thessaloniki, among the remains of a funeral pyre of a late Classical period tomb (4th century BC). The inclusion of the document was decided by the Program’s International Advisory Committee (IAC) which convened in Abu Dhabi on October 4-6. “The text of the Papyrus, which is the first book of western tradition, has a global significance, since it reflects universal human values: the need to explain the world, the desire to belong to a human society with known rules and the agony to confront the end of life”, says UNESCO. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki believes its inclusion in UNESCO’s international list will further promote and preserve Greece’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Memory of the World Program aims at preserving against decay and oblivion the world's documentary heritage and highlighting its value by facilitating access to the works.

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