SCIENCE

Mummy With Golden Tongue From 'Special Ritual' For The Afterlife Found In Egypt

The discovery was part of a group of 16 poorly preserved mummies found in a temple complex in western Alexandria.

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a mummy with one remarkable feature: a golden tongue. 

The mummy was one of 16 from the Greek and Roman periods (from 332 BC to 640 AD) recently discovered at the Taposiris Magna Temple complex in western Alexandria. 

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement that the mummies were in a poor state of preservation, but one included a skull with “amulets of gold foil in the form of a tongue.” The tongue was “placed in the mouth of the mummy in a special ritual to ensure their ability to speak in the afterlife before the Osirian court.”

Ancient Egyptians believed the deceased would face judgment in a ritual that included a plea before a panel of 42 judges and the god Osiris. A golden tongue might help make the case: 

Mummy With A Golden Tongue
Mummy With A Golden Tongue

While the golden tongue may be the most talked-about discovery from the site, archaeologists say two other mummies found at the location are even more extraordinary. In a ministry news release posted on Facebook, Dr. Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo, who has searching for years for Cleopatra’s tomb in the same complex, said the pair had the remains of scrolls and parts of a cartonnage, a type of funerary mask that covered the mummy. 

One had gilded decorations showing Osiris while the other had a crown with horns and a cobra as well as a chest featuring a necklace with the head of a falcon, a symbol of the god Horus.

The archaeologists also found eight golden flakes representing the leaves of a golden wreath, a funerary mask for a woman and eight marble sculptures. 

One of the discoveries from the Taposiris Magna Temple in western Alexandria. 
One of the discoveries from the Taposiris Magna Temple in western Alexandria. 
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