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Papyrus is an early form of paper made from the leaves of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus. It was used in scrolls in ancient civilizations. Later the practice was to cut sheets from the rolls to form codices when the codex or book was invented; papyrus use began 5000 years ago in Egypt (and probably in other places).

Several layers of papyrus leaves were laid in different directions (usually perpendicularly) and pressed together while wet. The surface that was written on (only one side of the paper was used) was treated with glue sizing so that the ink wouldn't bleed.

In a dry climate, such as Egypt, papyrus is stable, but storage in humid conditions will result in molding.

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