Archaeologists have discovered a new papyrus of the Egyptian “Book of the Dead”

(ORDO NEWS) — It was named the Waziri Papyrus by the General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Mostafa Waziri. Scholars are currently translating this text into modern languages.

Fans of the 1999 film The Mummy know that the Egyptian Book of the Dead plays a key role in the return of the cursed High Priest Imhotep, who terrorizes the living.

The reality, of course, is completely different: there is not a single magical copy of the Book of the Dead similar to the one shown in the film.

The truth is that many copies of these works have existed over the centuries, each one unique, with its own incantations, often adapted to the specific needs of deceased royalty and (later) dignitaries of Egyptian society.

Papyrus “Books of the Dead”

These “books” were actually collections of funerary texts and spells meant to help the deceased on his journey through the underworld (Duat), not to raise people from the dead, and they are not sacred texts like the Bible or the Quran.

Initially, they were written on objects or walls of burial chambers. Over time, illustrations were added, and spells were also inscribed on the inside of the coffins or linen shrouds in which the dead were wrapped.

Copies of the “Book of the Dead” were made by scribes to order, and the scrolls could be up to 1 meter wide and up to 40 meters long.

People knew about the existence of such scrolls in the Middle Ages and assumed that they were of a religious nature, because they were found in tombs.

Carl Richard Lepsius coined the name “Book of the Dead” in 1842 after translating one such text.

The most famous example to date is the Papyrus of Ani, discovered in Luxor in 1888 and now in the British Museum. But such finds are becoming increasingly rare.

In March 2022, archaeologists unearthed five 4,000-year-old tombs containing 250 painted wooden mummy sarcophagi and 150 statuettes of various gods in the Cemetery of Ancient Animals.

There was also a collection of cosmetics, bronze vessels and a sistrum (a percussion musical instrument).

One of the sarcophagi also contained a papyrus scroll, which, according to archaeologists, measured about 9 meters and contained a chapter from the Book of the Dead, written in hieroglyphs. It was sent to the laboratory of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for further study.

Once the papyrus was fully restored, scientists calculated its length, which was 16 meters. And now scientists have confirmed that the scroll actually contains spells from the Book of the Dead.

The papyrus will be on display at the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo sometime this year, the researchers said.


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