Photos of a 52-foot-long Book of the Dead scroll discovered in March 2022 have been revealed to the public – showing illustrations of gods and the afterlife.
The ancient scroll, which is more than 2,000 years old, was uncovered inside a tomb near the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt’s earliest colossal stone building.
Archaeologists initially believed the ancient document, dubbed ‘Waziri Papyrus,’ was 29 feet long, but once they unrolled it, it stretched more than double the size – and it is the first to be discovered by an Egyptian.
It was found rolled up in a sarcophagus belonging to Ahmose, whose name is mentioned 260 times throughout the massive document, including depictions of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.
Not much is known about Ahmose, but archaeologists are sure he was a man of wealth and power to have commissioned such an elaborate Book of the Dead.
Archaeologists have shared the first images of a Book of the Dead first found in March 2022. It shows images of the god of the underworld, Osiris
Book of the Dead is a collection of texts made up of spells to help the dead crossover into the afterlife.
The name does not come from ancient Egyptians but was coined in 1842 by German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius – the original name was Book of Coming Forth by Day or Book of Emerging Forth into the Light.
The recent discovery is an elaborate artifact written in black and red ink and hieratic, a cursive used by ancient Egyptians.
It contains 113 chapters of the Book of the Dead distributed over 150 columns of different sizes and sizes and several lines in each column.
The chapters were written and arranged in good coordination by writing in specific places and specifications.
Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, found the papyrus in one of 250 coffins found at the site, which is located in Saqqara.
The Book of the Dead has now been restored and translated into Arabic. It is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
According to Live Sciences, an analysis of the scroll shows professionals who wrote it also drew detailed images of Osiris.
The scroll was found inside a tomb and was rolled up tightly
Experts have spent nearly a year analyzing the massive scroll to decipher the ancient text
The scroll was found near the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt’s earliest colossal stone building
The god of the underworld is shown wearing his traditional crown, Atef, while seated on a throne surrounded by plumes.
Osiris was not only the ruler of the dead but also the power that granted all life from the underworld, from sprouting vegetation to the annual flood of the Nile River.
Along the scroll are animals that experts believe depict offerings, and some boats are likely used as vessels to the underworld.
An illustration of a couple revering to the deities of ancient Egypt is also seen on the scroll that could be Ahmose and his unknown wife.
Archeologists found another Book of the Dead in 2021, which is 13 feet long and filled with spells aimed at directing the dead through the underworld in ancient Egypt.
Here the Book of the Dead is showcased fully open at the Egyptian Museum of Liberation
There are images of spells to help the dead navigate to the underworld
Along the scroll are animals that experts believe depict offerings, and some boats are likely used as vessels to the underworld
The scroll was among a trove of treasures unearthed by archaeologists at the same site as the latest Book of the Dead.
The temple of Queen Neit, who was the wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty that ruled Egypt between 2323 BC and 2150 BC, was found by a team of archaeologists headed by Egypt’s former antiquities minister and noted archaeologist Zahi Hawass at the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo.
The team also discovered 52 wooden sarcophagi, dating back to the New Kingdom period, in burial shafts at depths of 40 feet.
Hawass, known for his Indiana Jones hat and TV specials on Egypt’s ancient sites, added that archaeologists had also discovered burial wells, coffins and mummies dating back to the New Kingdom that ruled Egypt between about 1570 BC and 1069 BC.
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