10 beautiful objects from the new Egyptology Gallery at World Museum, Liverpool

9. The Book of the Dead

a picture showing three details from a papyrus with Egyptian symbols, figures and hieroglyphs

The Book of the Dead. Ptolemaic Period (about 332 BC) Excavated at Hissaya by Liverpool University, 1905 © Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool.

Thousands of copies of the Book of the Dead were made between 1550 and 50 BC but most are now just fragments. The one you see here is almost complete – just one end of the fragile papyrus is crumpled. More than 2,300 years ago it was rolled up and buried with Djed-hor, a man who lived near the great temple of Horus at Edfu.

In 1905 John Garstang discovered it in Djed-hor’s tomb and carried it back with him to Liverpool. It was a rare discovery but one that was forgotten about until 1974 when it was unrolled. For the first time the museum is able to show all four metres of this rare survivor together.

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