Friday, April 20, 2012

3400 Year Old Book of the Dead

The British Museum's curator Dr John Taylor has located pieces of a New Kingdom book of the dead that once belonged to a high priest of Amun in around 1420 bc. The fragments are kept in the Queensland Museum but there are other pieces in various collections around the world.

The ancient Egyptian book of the dead is a continuation of the even older pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom as well as the coffin texts of Egypt's Middle Kingdom. Each book of the dead is different in the spells from the Theban recession they contain to help the dead through the underworld.

When new the book would have been very costly and placed either in the tomb or frequently within the coffin or even wrapped in with the mummy. When found King Tutankhamun was not in possession of a book of the dead

The book came to light in the nineteenth century and apparently taken apart at that time. The museum staff are delighted to have the significant document in their collection and that now the document can be published in it's entirety.

Photo Courtesy: 612 ABC Brisbane

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