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First page of the Book of the Dead of Panedjem II

First sheet of the papyrus

  • Rolled papyrus scroll

    Rolled papyrus scroll


Length: 68.500 cm
Height: 38.000 cm

EA 10793/1

    First page of the Book of the Dead of Panedjem II

    From Thebes, Egypt
    21st Dynasty, about 990-969 BC

    A high priest of Amun

    Panedjem, the owner of this papyrus, was one of the high priests of Amun during the Twenty-first Dynasty (about 1069-945 BC). The high priests of Amun were the effective rulers of Upper Egypt, although they were mostly loyal to the kings of the dynasty, based in Tanis in the Delta.

    The first sheet of the papyrus shows Panedjem making an offering to the god Osiris. Osiris grasps the royal crook and flail, and a composite staff incorporating the hieroglyphs for 'life', 'dominion' and 'stability'. The texts accompanying this scene are written in neat pen-drawn hieroglyphs, but the main text of the Book of the Dead is written in neat late hieratic.

    It is thought that this papyrus was found in the Royal Cache at Deir el-Bahari. This mass burial, which contained the mummies of many of the kings of the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), was discovered by robbers at some point in the 1870s, and was only revealed to the authorities after a dispute in the robbers' family, in 1881.

    The tomb was probably originally cut to be the burial place of a member of the royal family of the early New Kingdom, and was then re-used as the burial place of Panedjem II and certain members of his family. Subsequently the royal mummies, and some others, were placed in this tomb, having been cached temporarily in a number of other locations.

    I. Munro, Der Totenbuch-Papyrus des Hohe (Wiesbaden, 1996)

    S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


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