John Ray’s Demotic Ostraca and Other Inscriptions from the Sacred Animal Necropolis, North Saqqara is a catalogue of texts found on ostraca, including literary texts, scribal exercises, jar labels and religious dedications. As well as standard cleaning up of text and formatting, the typesetting of the book, totalling 392 pages, included:

  • setting line drawings of each inscription within the text, scaled to actual size
  • extensive setting of demotic transliteration, as well as some Coptic and Greek
  • a concordance table towards the end of the book, covering twelve pages
  • some basic work in Photoshop, cleaning up the scanned hand-drawings of the inscriptions; many of the images had a lot of smudging that needed removing before setting and printing


For most of the books I set, I’m sent a fully edited, ready-to-go Word file. In this case, I was sent the author’s unedited Word file, along with a printout containing the academic editor’s amendments and notes to then incorporate. I liaised with both the author and the editor throughout the process to check which of the editor’s suggestions should be incorporated and to clarify his queries.

I also had problems with the author’s demotic font not working properly, and had to source a new font and then ensure all the transliteration was properly amended and set.

It was a major (but fun!) project, which I wrote a blog post about here.