National Geographic : 1955 Jan
+ Paper from Papyrus: Syracuse Practices a "Lost" Art Two sisters carry on the making of paper from papyrus, an ancient Egyptian invention rediscovered by a Syracusan in the 18th century (page 36). Only the bleached parts of the stalk that grow below water are used. Here Signorina Naro slices a stalk and lays thin strips in overlapping rows (upper right). A second layer crosses at right angles. - Folded in a cloth, the strips pass through rollers. + A damp finished sheet shows the crisscross pattern. 39 Moors Introduced Papyrus into Sicily from Egypt Paper made from papyrus stalks was invented about 4,000 years before Christ. It was partly superseded by vellum and parchment, which gave way in the 10th century to paper as we know it today. Papyrus replaced the clumsy clay tablets on which the Babylonians and others impressed their cuneiform writ ing. Literary specimens preserved in museums are written mostly in Egyp tian, Greek, and Latin. Ancient Egyptians literally absorbed knowledge by washing off the ink of papyrus texts in beer, then drinking the mixture.