The historical significance of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri
Traditionally, only grand, official documents carved in stone have survived from the classical world, but the Oxyrhynchus archive is unusual and unparalleled as it contained what the classical sites of Greece and Italy could not preserve - paper.
The vast majority of the papyri record everyday life e.g. private letters, shopping lists and tax forms, with a small proportion of a literary nature, but also discovered were several early copies of the New Testament. These manuscripts were written in Greek, the language commonly used in Egypt during this period. Although most of the papyri appear to be of little significance, they offer a glimpse of the daily life of the ancient city's inhabitants.