As the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square marks completion of the first phase of its development, it displays in a special showcase the Papyrus Waziri 1 for the first time following its restoration.
The papyrus was discovered by the Egyptian archaeological mission, headed by Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mustafa Waziri, in Saqqara, Giza, in May 2022. It was found in the sarcophagus of a person named Ahmes; the name was inscribed on the sarcophagus, and included the “Book of the Dead” written in hieratic script. It dates back to the Ptolemaic period some 300 years BC. The Book of the Dead—it’s original name is “The Book of Emerging into the Daylight”—is a collection of religious spells and funerary texts used in ancient Egypt as a guide for the deceased on their journey to the after-life; it includes praises and prayers to the gods. Every Egyptian who could do so assigned men of religion to prepare a book for the dead for him, in which his name is specifically mentioned, in preparation for the day of his death.
The 16 metre-long papyrus was found rolled and wrapped in linen, intact and fully preserved. It was unwrapped and opened by the Egyptian Museums restoration experts, following which it was taken to the museum where it underwent an eight-month-long restoration and documentation process.
“It is the first and longest papyrus written in Hieratic to be discovered in Saqqara necropolis,” Mr Waziri said.
The papyrus contains 113 chapters of the Book of the Dead, written in 150 columns of varying size. Most of its texts are written in black ink except for a few lines written in red.
22 February 2023
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