Palaeographic Dating



Small papyri fragments like P52 cannot be dated using conventional means such as carbon dating, as too much of the sample would be required. Instead they are dated using a process known as Palaeographic Dating. This process is incredibly skillful as it requires the Palaeographer to posess an in-depth knowledge of the language being studied. It is also important to know the historical usages of various styles of handwriting, common writing customs and scribal or notorial abbreviations. 
A good knowledge of writing materials is also helpful as the type of pen, ink and paper (or papyri, velum and parchment) used can be a good indication of when something is written.
All of this makes Palaeography a very difficult art to master and also one which is never fully learned but always evolving.