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Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 101
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Le premier exemplaire du Livre de l’Amdouat.
The earliest-known version of Imy-Duat occurs on fragmentary inscribed limestone blocks now in the Cairo Museum. This documentation found in two separate tombs (KV 38 and KV 20) and customarily thought to form the decoration of the burial chamber raises many questions. The first part of the study is devoted to the discovery of the fragments and their subsequent registration in the Museum: unpublished information kept in the hand-written inventories confirm that the most important part of the objects – now exhibited in the Atrium – was found by Carter in KV 20. Among the few fragments recovered in KV 38 by Loret there are only two pieces which are exactly of the same kind, while the others belong to a second version of Imy-Duat written in larger scale on mud plaster. According to its size the Imy-Duat version reproduced on the limestone blocks looks like a copy on papyrus and seems hardly adaptable to an architectural context. Close examination of the inscribed blocks led us to question whether they were ever gathered together in order to line the walls or to be arranged in rectangular fashion around the royal sarcophagus. Some fragments give evidence of an ancient egyptian numbering system but these indications are very difficult to interpret because of the incomplete state of the documentation. The original location of the blocks and the subsequent attribution of the first version of Imy-Duat are discussed in the third part of the paper. Our final proposal takes into account the different observations mentioned above. We ascribe the limestone version to Hatshepsut in whose tomb the majority of the fragments were found and explain the situation as follows: uninscribed blocks intented to form the lining of the walls may be brought into the tomb (some of them were possibly numbered at the occasion), but the wall decoration was never carried out; some isolated blocks may therefore be reused as simple media in order to copy the funerary text on an indestructible material.
- Florence Mauric-Barberio ( : 19018728X)