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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

You may have heard of the ominous sounding Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’, but do you know what it actually is? The ‘Book of the Dead’ is not actually a book or a fixed text. It is a modern term for a collection of magical spells that the Egyptians used to help them get into the afterlife. The ‘book’ is one of the most famous aspects of ancient Egyptian culture.

Many famous images, such as a scale weighing a heart of the deceased against a feather come from the ‘book’. It has made its way into popular culture, including films such as the 1999 movie The Mummy, which will be shown soon in our cinema. (To book your place at this free event follow this link).

The Greenfield Papryus Book of the Dead of Nestanebetisheru. 950BC- 930BC, Thebes, papryus. British Museum Collection

While many will have to settle for seeing the famous ‘book’ in movies, you can see one of its section in person!  This piece is from the ‘Greenfield Papyrus’. One of the longest and most beautifully illustrated ancient Egyptian manuscripts to survive, it is almost 3000 years old!

One of nine objects in the British Museum’s Touring Exhibition ‘Egyptian hieroglyphs: unlock the mystery’, it is FREE to view and will be in the Lisburn Museum until 12 October.  

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