Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society

PRICELESS TRASH. More than a century ago, amid the 2,000-year-old garbage heaps and rubbish piles surrounding the ancient Roman city of Oxyrhynchus in the Nile Valley, archaeologists came across an extraordinary cache of papyrus fragments that would collectively become one of the greatest finds of the modern era. Though discarded in antiquity as useless scraps of paper, these papyri include countless personal letters, classic literary works and even unknown gospels. Taken together, these documents, many of which are still being analyzed today, provide remarkable insight into the life and times of ordinary Christians and Romans in the “City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish.”