Later this week I plan to visit the British Museum to see their exhibition “Journey through the Afterlife: ancient Egypt Book of the Dead”.
The Book of the Dead was a papyrus roll showing images and writing – the magic spells that the ancient Egyptians believed would help them make their journey in to the afterlife. John Taylor, the curator of the exhibition, writes about it in his blog on the British museum website.
I’d like to think that I might see some wildlife depicted in the spells, but there’s unlikely to be anything new for our research. Most of the work on papyrus that I’ve seen is too stylised or not detailed enough to give a positive identification, or only shows the commonest species.
There’s a faint possibility though: our only record of purple heron comes from a fragment of papyrus in the Cairo museum.
Whether or not there’s anything new, I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibition. I’ll post a review later in the week.