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Thirty years later the discoverer himself, Muhammad 'Alí al-Sammán; told what happened.

One rumor held that he was a blood avenger; another, that he had made the find near the town of Naj 'Hammádì at the Jabal al-Tárif, a mountain honeycombed with more than 150 caves.

Originally natural, some of these caves were cut and painted and used as grave sites as early as the sixth dynasty, some 4,300 years ago.

From The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels Vintage Books, New York: 1979 pp.

xiii-xxiii In December 1945 an Arab peasant made an astonishing archeological discovery in Upper Egypt.

Digging around a massive boulder, they hit a red earthenware jar, almost a meter high.

Muhammad 'Alí hesitated to break the jar, considering that a jinn, or spirit, might live inside.

Muhammad's mother, 'Umm-Ahmad, admits that she burned much of the papyrus in the oven along with the straw she used to kindle the fire.

But realizing that it might also contain gold, he raised his mattock, smashed the jar, and discovered inside thirteen papyrus books, bound in leather.

Returning to his home in al-Qasr, Muhammad 'All dumped the books and loose papyrus leaves on the straw piled on the ground next to the oven.

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