(SCIENCE ALERT) A fragment of what could be the earliest copy of the Gospel of Mark - the oldest of the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and central to the belief system of Christianity - is set to be published after being discovered in the face mask of an Egyptian mummy.
Not all mummies were created equal - we’re used to seeing them contained by stunning sarcophagi and masks coated in gold, but only Egyptian royalty were honoured with such finery. When regular citizens died and were mummified, their masks were made from simple papyrus - a plant-based, paper-thin material - which was glued together in layers and painted.
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And while papyrus was obviously a whole lot cheaper to produce than gold, it came in limited supply, so people often recycled it, just like how kids use old newspapers to make Papier-mâché. Now, researchers have figured out how to loosen the glue that holds these papyrus layers together, thousands of years after it was applied, so they can be extracted from the mask with the original ink writings still intact.