Papyrus and ARCADIA the papyrus plant is mentioned in Scene Three.  Septimus quotes, “I have no doubt that the improved steam-driven heat-engine which puts Mr. Noakes into an ecstasy that he and it and the modern age should all coincide, was described on the papyrus.”


What is Papyrus?


The papyrus plant, also known as bulrush, is found in the Nile River region.  It thrives in dry climates and can grow in as much as six feet of water, reaching a maximum height of fifteen feet. 





Papyrus was used to make paper as early as 3000 B.C. in Europe and 2600 B.C. in Egypt.  Pieces of the papyrus paper were also found in the Nile River Valley between 191-192 A.D.  An unknown dealer during this time period purchased papyrus rolls from peasants.


Process of Making Paper


In order to make paper, the reed of the papyrus was separated with a needle into thin strips.  The strips were laid on a board parallel to one another and moistened with water.  They were then placed in presses and dried in the sun.  This paper was used by the Greek and Roman writers of the past. 


Biblical Connection


Papyrus has a Biblical reference in Exodus 2 when Levi’s daughter, the mother of Moses, hides baby Moses in the bulrushes vegetation along the Nile River.

The Bible says, “And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.”





“History of Papyrus and Its Discovery”. Papyrus. 2003. Online. Internet. 14 May 2003. <>. 


“Information of the Papyrus Plant”. The Use of Papyrus in Egypt. 2003. Online. Internet. 14 May 2003.



“The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus 2”. 2003. Online. Internet. 15 May 2003.


Page created by Jennifer Lang and Megan Harriman, May 2003
Picture of the gardens at Stour

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