The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Duat

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The objects found in the graves of the predynastic Egyptians, i.e., vessels of food, flint knives, and other weapons, etc., prove that these early dwellers in the Nile Valley believed in some kind of a future existence. However, as the art of writing was unknown to them, their graves contain no inscriptions, and we can only infer from texts of the dynastic Period what their ideas about the Other World were. They did not consider it of great importance to preserve the dead body in as complete and perfect state as possible, for in many of their graves, the heads, hands, and feet have been found severed from the trunks and lying at some distance from them. On the other hand, the dynastic Egyptians, either as the result of a difference in religious belief or under the influence of invaders who had settled in their country, attached supreme importance to the preservation and integrity of the dead body, and they adopted every means known to them to prevent its dismemberment and decay. They cleaned it and embalmed it with drugs, spices, and balsams; they anointed it with aromatic oils and preservative fluids; they swathed it in hundreds of yards of linen bandages; and then they sealed it up in a coffin or sarcophagus, which they laid in a chamber hewn in the bowels of the mountain.
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