Tomb Robbery Papyrus (Papyrus Mayer A)



Papyrus Mayer A is a legal document containing a portion of evidence at the trial of the tomb robbers at Thebes. It consists of a single sheet measuring 1430 mm x 425 mm, cut vertically into two portions, of length 795 and 635 mm respectively, and inscribed on both faces. In addition to the cutting of the papyrus into two pieces some trimming has been done along the edge, for on the verso there is a line of hieratic running across the top which has been so mutilated that the upper halves of its opening signs have been cut away. The two separate sheets of which the document now consists have been covered back and front with a semi-transparent paper (papier vegetal) that gives an appearance of brown varnish. Following the Second World War an attempt was made to remove the paper covering from one sheet. This process was not successful and now one sheet is now torn and extremely fragile; with the other sheet just having one mark where the paper has been removed. Some infrared photography was done in September 2006. The date recorded within the text corresponds to years 19 and 20 of Ramesses XI Menmaatre-setpenptah (ruled about 1103/1099-1070/1069 BC). The papyrus consists of a series of short reports into the examination of the accused in two separate series of thefts, one from certain gilded portable shrines, the other from various tombs in the royal necropolis. Earlier stages of the investigation into the robberies in the necropolis, held before the same judges, are given in a papyrus in the British Museum (pap. BM10052) written in the same hand and style.