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1,600-year-old labour contract translated


A Greek document written on papyrus in the 4th century A.D. has been translated, revealing a contract written for a guard hired to protect a vineyard in Egypt.

According to Helms’ translation, the ancient text reads: “I agree that I have made a contract with you on the condition that I guard your property, a vineyard near the village Panoouei, from the present day until vintage and transport, so that there be no negligence, and on the condition that I receive in return for pay for all of the aforementioned time …”

Sadly that’s where the contract cuts off. It remains a mystery how much the guard was paid. This contract also contains the first mention of a city called Panoouei, Helms wrote. It is not clear where ancient village was, especially since vineyards were found from the Delta in the north to El­ephantine, an ancient city several hundred miles south along the Nile.

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Story: Megan Gannon, LiveScience | Photo: Anna M. Campbell at Elk Cove Vineyards

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