The papyrus features two birds – with French university lecturer now revealing the picture was a love spell.
Korshi Dosoo, of Strasbourg University, said the papyrus was a Coptic Christian love message to be read out during a ceremony.
He said the papyrus likely dated from at least 1,300 years ago, when Christianity was practiced across Egypt.
The papyrus shows birds-like animals linked by a band, or possibly a penis, Mr Dosoo said.
He told Live Science: “From an observer point of view, we could say that the image might have enhanced the performative aspect of the spell.
“The client might find the weird drawings an impressive addition to the overall atmosphere and impression created by the ritual.
“Christian literary texts from Egypt which mention love spells often imply that the problem is not that the woman doesn’t love the man per se, but that he does not have access to her.
“Because she is a young unmarried girl protected and secluded by her family, or already married to someone else.”
He said the scrawl of papyrus most likely was once part of a longer document or leaflet. Only scraps now remain.
Some of the words have been scrubbed away over time but others remain.
He said some extracts said “I call upon you, who is Christ the god of Israel”, “you will dissolve” and ”every child of Adam”.