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Papyrus is a tall aquatic plant, belonging to the sedge family, which was native to the Nile Valley during Biblical times. Today it is limited to a few areas. Papyrus was used as writing material by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, as well as by the writers of the Bible. Scrolls were made from the pith of the papyrus plant, by cutting thin strips, laying them together at right angles, soaking them, pressing them and then drying them. Papyrus scrolls could reach a length of up to approximately thirty-five feet. When using papyrus as a writing material, the ancient scribes would often use the natural horizontal fibers of the plant as guidelines. They would take a blunt instrument and score horizontal lines, and then score two or more vertical lines as margins for the edge of the sheet, or to define columns on it. Our modern word "paper" is in fact derived from the word "papyrus".

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