Unpublished Egyptian texts reveal new insights into ancient medicine

phys.org | 8/14/2018 | Staff
baileyboo (Posted by) Level 3
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The University of Copenhagen in Denmark is home to a unique collection of Ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts.

A large part of the collection has not yet been translated, leaving researchers in the dark about what they might contain.

Part - Texts - Medicine - Botany - Astronomy

"A large part of the texts are still unpublished. Texts about medicine, botany, astronomy, astrology, and other sciences practiced in Ancient Egypt," says Egyptologist Kim Ryholt, Head of the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

An international team of researchers are now translating the previously unexplored texts, which according to one of the researchers, contain new and exciting insights into Ancient Egypt.

Material - Places - World - PhD - Student

"It's totally unique for me to be able to work with unpublished material. It doesn't happen in many places around the world," says Ph.D. student Amber Jacob from the Institute for the Study of The Ancient World at New York University, USA. She is one of four Ph.D. students working on the unpublished manuscripts held in Copenhagen.

Jacob's research focuses on the medical texts from the Tebtunis temple library, which existed long before the famous Library of Alexandria, up until 200 BCE.

Texts - Evidence - Ancient - Egyptians - Existence

In one of the texts, she has found evidence that Ancient Egyptians knew about the existence of kidneys.

"It's the oldest known medical text to discuss the kidneys. Until now, some researchers thought that the Egyptians didn't know about kidneys, but in this text we can clearly see that they did," says Jacob.

Papyri - Insights - View - Astrology

The papyri also reveal insights into the Egyptian view on astrology.

"Today, astrology is seen as a pseudoscience, but in antiquity it was different. It was an important tool for predicting the future and it was considered a very central science," says Ryholt.

Example - King - Day - War

"For example, a king needed to check when was a good day to go to war," he says.

Astrology was their way of avoiding going to war on a bad...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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