4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Manuscript Found

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tags: ancient Egypt, Egypt

Wael Sherbiny, an Egyptian-born scholar trained in Belgium, announced the find at a recent meeting of the International Congress of Egyptologists. Little is known about the manuscript prior to the early 20th century, when a local archaeology institute purchased the scroll, which they later donated the Egyptian Museum, also known as the Museum of Cairo.

Covered with colorful drawings and illustrations–on both sides, for a total of more than 16 feet–depicting divine beings, and featuring spells that would have been used as incantations by priests, the scroll was likely used a portable religious text. That makes it one of only seven such manuscripts to have survived to the present day—and the only one on leather; the other six are on papyrus. While leather was considered a more prestigious material, making it the ideal choice for a religious text, it is much less durable and highly susceptible to damage from Egypt’s dry climate. In fact, the manuscript didn’t escape unscathed, and Sherbiny had to painstakingly assemble sections of the manuscript that were in tatters.

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