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Archaeologists Find Record-Long 'Book of the Dead' Papyrus for First Time in a Century, Reports Say

Book of the Dead - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2023
The Book of the Dead is connected with the ancient Egyptian traditions that accompanied burial and reflected perceptions of the afterlife. Recently scientists have found a scroll with those texts, so soon we might learn more about the funeral rituals of the land of the pyramids.
In the Egyptian city of Saqqara, a 2,000-year-old, 16-meter-long ancient papyrus with incantations from the Book of the Dead was found for the first time in 100 years. The valuable find was discovered in a tomb south of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, media reported, citing a statement from Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Mostafa Waziry, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that scientists have already begun to translate the scroll from ancient Egyptian into Arabic and hope that it will help learn more about the postmortem rituals of the ancient Egyptians.
Scientists also note that the 15.5 meters is not a record length and point out that Book of the Dead scrolls up to 30 meters long have been discovered.

"There are many manuscripts that would have been similar in length, but papyrus manuscripts of ancient Egyptian religious texts can vary quite dramatically in length," Foy Scalf, who was not involved in the discussed scrolls discovery, but is the head of research archives at the University of Chicago, told the Science News website in an email.

Waziry added that the papyrus was restored at the restoration laboratory of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. The coffin that housed the newfound papyrus has been dated to the Late Period (c. 712 BC to 332 BC) and details about the papyrus’ owner and its date of origin will be announced soon, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former minister of Antiquities, in an email to the Science News website.
The statement about the discovery was timed to coincide with the Egyptian Day of archaeologists, which was celebrated on January 14.
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The Book of the Dead in ancient Egypt was a collection of Egyptian funerary texts written primarily on papyrus and used from the early New Kingdom (circa 1550s BC) to about the 50s BC. The collection is a compilation of magical incantations designed to help the deceased to overcome the dangers of the netherworld and find prosperity in the afterlife.
Saqqara is a village in Egypt which is home to the most ancient necropolis of Memphis, the capital of the Ancient Kingdom. The name comes from the god of the dead Sokar, the patron of necropolises. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Step Pyramid of Djoser was constructed during the reign of the pharaoh Djoser (ruled c. 2630 BC to 2611 BC) and was the first pyramid the Egyptians built. The area around the step pyramid was used for burials for millennia, since people of that age considered being buried near the pyramid to be a great honor.
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