A mysterious ancient leather manuscript, older than 4,000 years, has been carefully reconstructed by Egyptologist after it was rediscovered in the museum in Cairo.
It containing rituals spells and colorful depictions of divine and supernatural beings, predating those found in the Book of the Dead manuscripts, the leather roll is around 2.5 meters long, with text and drawings on both sides. It is both the longest surviving leather ancient Egyptian manuscript and the oldest, according to Egyptologist Dr Wael Sherbiny, who found the roll in a mix of small and large fragments on the Cairo Museum’s shelves and announced his discovery at the International Congress of Egyptologists in Florence in August.
Wael Sherbiny working on a portion of the manuscript at the Cairo Museum. Via: theguardian.
The artefact’s provenance is not known, but according to Sherbiny it was bought by the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology from an antiquities dealer after the first world war, and then donated to the Cairo Museum two years before the outbreak of the second world war.
“In the segment that was used in the so-called Book of Two Ways, the speaker is approaching an elaborate architectonic structure with a highly restricted access,” said Sherbiny. “A certain holy place that is protected by multiple gates and their powerful guardians. These latter are characterised as supernatural beings with immense magical powers. The texts in the scroll contain this specific and magical knowledge that is required to pass safely by these dangerous beings and get access to the divine restricted area behind the gates.”