The world's oldest book has been found in a tomb abandoned by archaeologists, according to British media.
The first group of western archaeologists to visit the tomb abandoned it a century ago when they found cigarette butts on the ground, believing the looters had stolen the treasure.
Only now has the tomb's true treasure been discovered: the earliest known edition of the world's first inserted book. It was a kind of guide for the ancient egyptians to use after death. The book, which contains both hieroglyphics and pictures, was painted in the wooden coffin of a woman named anh 4,000 years ago.
There are spells that drive away evil spirits that tomb owners think they might encounter in the underworld. The book also has something that looks like a map to modern eyes, so it is also known as the book of two roads. It depicts two winding paths -- perhaps the one that led to the underworld and eventually to the side of its ruler, Osiris.
"The book of two roads is, in many ways, the first illustrated book in history," said foy schafer of the university of Chicago. Schalf was not involved in the study. "It's the first illustrated guide to the holy land," he added.
The coffin painted with the book dates back to the reign of pharaoh mentuhotep ii around 2010 BC. This makes it half a century older than any other version that has been discovered.
The coffin fragment with the book was found in a tomb in the monastery of balsa. The tomb was first excavated by a team of western archaeologists led by American Egyptologist George lesner. Lesner soon realized that the tomb had been looted and lost interest.
It wasn't until 2012 that Egyptian archaeologist Dr. Hakko Williams of the university of leuven in Belgium and his team revisited the site and found several pieces of wood. But it wasn't until four years later that researchers figured out exactly what they were. Dr Williams said: 'we were thrilled when we realised it was a book of two roads.
The book remains a mystery, with more than 20 copies of the book of two roads discovered.