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Scientists have deciphered the text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Scientists have deciphered the text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead

The inhabitants of Ancient Egypt believed in a huge number of gods — according to scientists, there were about 5 thousand of them. It goes without saying that people took all kinds of rituals seriously, especially those related to the funeral of deceased pharaohs and other important personalities. In almost every tomb, archaeologists find excerpts from the Book of the Dead. This is the name of a collection of religious texts that help people overcome the dangers of the other world and find well-being there. Sometimes the passages are very long and contain up to two hundred chapters, but in most cases, we are talking about one-page magic formulas. And recently fragments of the same passage from the Book of the Dead were found in different parts of the globe. Scientists were able to connect the two parts and decipher the text contained in them. So what was written in this passage and how did two parts of the same text end up in different places?

Scientists often find Books of the dead, but this find is unique

An unexpected scientific discovery

The unexpected discovery was described in the scientific journal Live Science. While studying the online database of the museum of the New Zealand city of Christchurch, American scientists have discovered a fragment from the Book of the Dead. It was written on the material that was wrapped around the bodies of mummies. They immediately remembered that the same fragment is also in the collection of the Getty American Research Institute. Both parts of the material are covered with hieroglyphs and drawings, and if they are combined together, you can put together a single plot. They noted that there must be other fragments of this passage from the Book of the Dead in the world, but where they are is unknown.

book-of-the-dead-image-two-750x411

A two-part fragment of the Book of the Dead

According to Egyptologist Alison Griffith, it was very difficult to write on the material used for wrapping mummies, so the people who buried the person obviously tried very hard. Scientists know that the buried man's name was Petosiris, and his mother was a certain Tetosiris — nothing more can be said about them. The man died around 300 BC.

What is written in the Book of the Dead?

If you add up the two found fragments of the Book of the Dead, you can get a single plot. The canvas depicts the preparation of a person for the afterlife: the sacrifice of a bull, the bringing of household items to the tomb, and the work of porters. Also on the material, you can notice the goddess of femininity and motherhood, Isis, and the goddess of birth and death, Nephthys. Of course, it was not without Anubis — the deity of funeral rituals and mummification.

Isis — the ancient Egyptian goddess of femininity and motherhood

Isis — the ancient Egyptian goddess of femininity and motherhood

According to researcher Foy Scalf, in fact, the fragment of the Book of the Dead consisted of more parts. No one knows where they are located. Most likely, they are scattered in different parts of the Earth and are in personal archives. And they got there, most likely, immediately after the discovery of the tomb of the aforementioned Petosiris — the researchers could simply tear the material into pieces and take the scraps with them "as a souvenir". It is known that the part found in the archives of New Zealand used to belong to Charles Murray, who was the British Consul General in Egypt from 1846 to 1863. Then it was sold several times at auctions and kept in various museum collections.

The most famous Books of the Dead

But the Books of the Dead themselves are far from the rarest artifacts. They appeared in ancient Egypt at a time when the cult of the gods began to become more complicated in society. They were used during funeral rituals: fragments of them were painted on the walls of tombs, and then on materials for wrapping mummies. The longest Book of the Dead, which is known to scientists, is the so-called Greenfield papyrus with a length of 37 meters. And one of the most famous and important for science is the Hunefer papyrus, on which the god of funeral rituals Anubis leads the soul of the deceased to judgment.

Anyway, these texts are of great interest, and it would be nice to have a complete picture of what is happening, even according to the version of the ancient Egyptians. And what if they knew something that we do not know, and we, therefore, should treat this information more carefully


Related tags:

Book of the Dead  Egypt  mysterious  science


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