noun (plural ostraca or ostraka)historical
A potsherd used as a writing surface.
- He noted down on a papyrus or an ostraka a full record of the grain measured so that a definite tax liability could be determined.
- Our earliest glimpse of Euclidean material will be the most remarkable for a thousand years, six fragmentary ostraca containing text and a figure… found on Elephantine Island in 1906/07 and 1907 / 08…
- Sometimes writing from this period has survived on ostraca which are inscribed pottery fragments.
Greek, 'hard shell or potsherd'.
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