CAIRO: A 4,000 year-old ancient Egyptian leather illuminated manuscript containing incantations and colorful figures of supernatural beings has been discovered at the Egyptian Museum.
The manuscript, which was apparently forgotten in the museum for more than 70 years, was found in an old storage box in one of the museum’s storerooms, according to Discovery news, it dates back to the period between the late Old Kingdom and the early New Kingdom eras (2,300 B.C.-2,000B.C.)
“Taking into account that it was written on both sides, we have more than 5 meters (16.4 feet) of texts and drawings, making this the longest leather roll from ancient Egypt,” Wael Sherbiny, the Belgium-based archaeologist who discovered the roll told Discovery News.
What makes the finding significant is that the divine and supernatural beings and the magical spells found on it “predate the famous drawings found in the Book of the Dead manuscripts and the so-called Netherworld Books from the New Kingdom onwards (1550 B.C. onwards,)” Sherbiny said.
The Book of the Dead, the Book of the Caverns along with other ancient Egyptian religious textbooks were covered with hundreds of magical spells that served as map of the afterlife to help ensure the deceased’s eternal life and protect him from supernatural beings,” archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Sunday.
It is known that ancient Egyptian priests used to carry leather rolls for reference while reciting sacred texts during religious rituals.
“They (the religious spells) were likely recited by a priest,” Sherbiny said.
Leather rolls were kept in the libraries of temples as “master copies” from which cheaper copies were reproduced on papyrus, he added.