Three funerary papyri from Thebes: new evidence on scribal and funerary practice in the Late Period

Burkhard Backes

The three recently published papyri treated in this paper offer evidence on a wide range of aspects regarding late Egyptian funerary religion. Although their vignettes and layout make the papyri look like typical Books of the Dead, only a minority of their texts are Book of the Dead chapters.

After discussing their provenance from a single workshop, the writing system used for these papyri is analysed. It features ‘alphabetical’ spellings, while reducing the number of multiliteral signs and determinatives. The function of this orthography is eventually linked with the original function of certain texts as recitation spells in rituals. Therefore, the function of rather erroneous copies of such spells as found on these papyri needs some discussion.

When assessing the role of the papyri as a part of late Egyptian religious practice, not only the function of each text and image have to be taken into consideration, but also the function(s) of the complete papyri as elements of funerary equipment.

Three funerary papyri from Thebes: new evidence on scribal and funerary practice in the Late Period

To reference this article we suggest:

Backes, B. 2010. Three funerary papyri from Thebes: New evidence on scribal and funerary practice in the Late Period. BMSAES 15, 1–21. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/online_journals/bmsaes/issue_15/backes.aspx

Contact the author
burkhard.backes@orinst.ox.ac.uk