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People in the long sixth century wrote on a variety of surfaces: clay tablets, waxed wooden or ivory tablets (“writing boards”), papyrus, skins, and scraps of limestone or pottery (ostraka). In Italy we hear about writing on long pieces of linen cloth. The tradition of laying out the writing surface with leadpoint is attested from the 2nd century BCE onwards:

  • Romano, F.P., Puglia, E., Caliri, C. et al. (2023) “Layout of ancient Greek papyri through lead-drawn ruling lines revealed by Macro X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging.” Sci Rep 13, 6582 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-33242-8

On writing boards see:

I have not seen (or proofread the citations to):

  • Elisabeth Lalou, “Les tablettes de cire medievales,” Bibliotheque de l’école des Chartes, cxlvii (1989), pp. 123-140 https://www.persee.fr/doc/bec_0373-6237_1989_num_147_1_450532
  • Elisabeth Lalou (ed.), Les tablettes à écrire, de l’antiquité à l’époque moderne: Actes du colloque international du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, Institut de France, 10-11 octobre 1990 {Turnhout, 1992);
  • Ernst Moser, Hermann Kühn, “Wachs als Beschreib- und Siegelstoff. Wachsschreibtafeln und ihre Verwendung,” in Reinhard Büll (ed.), Vom Wachs: Hoechster Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Wachse (Frankfurt, 1968), pp. 785-894. Reprinted as Das große Buch vom Wachs (Munich, 1977)

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