Researchers have come across a 4,000-year-old ancient Egyptian manuscript measuring over 8 feet has been ‘rediscovered’ in Cairo. The oldest known leather manuscript which dates back at least 4,000 years has been rediscovered at the Egyptian Museum after it remained in a dusty storage box for over 70 years.
The fascinating ancient Egyptian text details incredible depictions of ‘supernatural beings’ predating the drawings of the Book of the Dead, making it a crucial piece in Ancient Egyptian History.
According to reports from Discovery News, the manuscript which measures a staggering 2.5 meters in length is currently the longest text ever discovered in Ancient Egypt.
The huge manuscript which is believed to date back from the Old Kingdom to the Early Middle Kingdom –between 2300 and 2000BC— is in fact a religious text containing spells that were most likely recited by an ancient priest.
These illustrations are believed to predate by some 1000 years similar drawings that appear in the world-famous Book of the Dead, the ancient Egyptian funerary text which details spells and aids a deceased person journey to the afterlife.
In an interview with Discovery New, Sherbiny explained that the same illustrated composition that was identified in the leather manuscript is also present on the base of the Middle Kingdom sarcophagi which was discovered in the necropolis of Hermopolis in Upper Egypt, dating to between 2055 and 1650 BC.
“Amazingly, the roll offers an even more detailed iconography than the Hermopolitan coffins regarding texts and drawings,” Sherbiny said.
According to researchers, the composition found in the ancient manuscript is believed the predate the illustrations researchers discovered at Hermopolis which indicates that there is a long history of transmission present before being used as decorative images in sarcophagi.
Ancient origin reports that leather manuscripts from Ancient Egypt are extremely rare due to the fact that leather will disintegrate over time. Most of the ancient Egyptian texts were composed on papyrus since papyri were well-preserved due to Egypt’s dry climate.
Thousands of years ago, leather was considered one of the most prestigious writing materials and was used to record religious texts and important historical events.