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Archaeology & History

Ancient book fragments unearthed in Egypt

By T.K. Randall
November 4, 2019 · Comment icon 4 comments



The ancient text is thought to hold religious significance. Image Credit: John Reinhard Weguelin
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of what is thought to be one of the oldest books ever written.
A recent article published by the University of Leuven in Belgium describes how an archaeological team led by professor of Egyptology Harco Willems discovered multiple fragments of an ancient Egyptian 'book' dating back to 2040 BC in a sarcophagus at a burial site in Dayr al-Barsha.

While it has proven difficult to determine the exact nature of the complete tome, the fragments feature a collection of ancient drawings and incantations pertaining to ancient Egyptian deities including the story of the journey from darkness to Osiris - god of the afterlife.
Two curved sinuous lines that run through the book are believed to represent the two roads that lead the newly deceased through the dangers of the underworld to the safety of the afterlife.

"One of the fragments represents the ship of the sun god Ra, towed by a sled, and another presents a text in which the owner of the grave identifies himself with the sun god," said Willem.

The discovery was made inside the sarcophagus of a noblewoman named Ankh.

Due to the damaged state of the fragments however, many of them may ultimately remain a mystery.

Source: Brussel Times | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by MissJatti 3 years ago
What a great find
Comment icon #2 Posted by jaylemurph 3 years ago
Sloppy journalism. “Book” means something very specific — paper pages sewn together and bound in hard covers. It originated c. 700 CE.    What they mean here is a text on a scroll.    —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Eldorado 3 years ago
Decent photos here.... (Belgian Uni) https://nieuws.kuleuven.be/nl/campuskrant/2019-2020/campuskrant-2019-2020-nr-2/leuvense-egyptologen-graven-zeldzaam-tweewegenboek-op
Comment icon #4 Posted by Tom1200 3 years ago
"Book" to the younger generations means floppy sheets attached together, bound in a wipe-proof cover.  Each sheet bears one simple monochromatic illustration, often of a cartoon or supernatural scene.  This comes with a selection of hand-held devices to facilitate the improvement of said illustrations through the judicious application of transferable pigments.   These books are treasured heirlooms, passed from sibling to sibling unsullied by human hands, until finally donated to charity or the bin.  Because even colouring-in is too darned difficult for today's kids.


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