Last Fragments of Important “Book of the Dead” MS Discovered

This is fairly big news, so I’m surprised to see it getting minimal coverage. The final, missing pieces of a key manuscript of the Egyptian Book of the Dead have been found at last.

Although there isn’t a single Book of the Dead, the papyrus in question belonged to Amenhotep, chief builder of the temple of Amun, and is important for its early date and unique elements.  British Museum Egyptologist Dr John Taylor found a missing piece on display at the Queensland Museum (Australia) , and was then shown an additional 100 fragments. Egyptologists have been trying to complete the manuscript for over 100 years.

Amenhotep’s manuscript is particularly significant as it is an early example of a Book of the Dead manuscript that has several unusual features found on only four or five manuscripts ever found.

These include borders featuring five pointed stars and sun-disks along the top and bottom, and a large inscription in one line on the back of the papyrus, all of which indicates a person of considerable rank, wealth and importance.

Dr John Taylor said once back in London, he would like to start trying to piece the Queensland Museum fragments into the British Museum’s manuscript electronically.

‘Reuniting manuscripts like this is incredibly important and meticulous work and we hope by piecing together the fragments we will be able to see what mysteries they reveal,’ Dr Taylor said.

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.