The Book of the Dead is a unique collection of funerary texts from a wide variety of sources, dating from the fifteenth to the fourth century BC. Consisting of spells, prayers and incantations, each section contains the words of power to overcome obstacles in the afterlife. The papyruses were often left in sarcophagi for the dead to use as passports on their journey from burial, and were full of advice about the ferrymen, gods and kings they would meet on the way. Offering valuable insights into ancient Egypt, The Book of the Dead has also inspired fascination with the occult and the afterlife in recent years.
John Romer has been working in Egypt since 1966 in key archaeological sites, including Karnak and Medinet Habu. He initiated conservation studies in the Valley of the Kings and led the Brooklyn Museum expedition to excavate the tomb of Ramesses XI. He has written and presented a number of television series, including Romer's Egypt, Ancient Lives, Testament and Byzantium. His major books include The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited and Valley of the Kings. He lives in Italy.