Golden “boy” of Egypt and 49 precious amulets

When a young man died in Egypt 2,300 years ago, he was mummified and adorned with 49 protective amulets and a golden mask to guide him to the afterlife


Golden “boy” of Egypt and 49 precious amulets

Researchers discovered the amulets located on and inside the mummified “golden boy” when they used CT scans to digitally massacre the remains without disturbing them.

The remains were first discovered in 1916 at the Nag el-Khassai cemetery, used between about 332 B.C. e. and 30 BC e. in southern Egypt. In Egypt in the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of preserved bodies were discovered, many of them still in their original tombs, before being moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Like many others, this mummy remained unexplored after its discovery and was moved to the basement of the museum.

While researchers are interested in studying ancient human health, as well as the death rituals and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, unpacking the mummified remains is a destructive process. In recent years, researchers have used CT scans to look under the sheets, leaving the bodies completely intact.

The remains of the golden boy were kept in two nested tombs. The outer coffin was plain and carved in Greek letters, while the inner wooden sarcophagus had patterns and a gilded face.

When the researchers scanned the mummy, they noticed 49 amulets with 21 different designs, including a golden tongue placed in the mouth , and a golden hornet heart in the chest, which the ancient Egyptians believed could help in the passage to the afterlife.

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Presumably, the youth, aged between 14 and 15, also wore a gilded head mask inlaid with stones and a protective cover called cartonage across the belly. All of his organs were removed except for his heart, and his brain was replaced with resin.

Journey to the afterlife

The ancient Egyptians believed that there was another life after death, but reaching the afterlife required a perilous journey through the underworld. The embalmers took care to prepare the bodies for the journey, and the golden boy was well equipped for the journey, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.

 "Here we show that the body of this mummy was profusely adorned with 49 amulets beautifully stylized in a unique three-column arrangement between the folds of the bandage and within the body cavity of the mummy. Among them were the Eye of Horus, the scarab beetle, the horizon akhet amulet, the placenta, the knot of Isis, and others. Many were made of gold, and some were made of semi-precious stones, fired clay or faience. Their purpose was to protect the body and give it strength in the afterlife,” said author Dr. Sahar Saleem, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University, in a statement.

He wore white sandals on his feet and his body was surrounded by ferns.

“The sandals were probably meant to let the boy out of the coffin. According to the ancient Egyptian ritual of the Book of the Dead, the deceased was required to wear white sandals to be pious and clean before reciting her poems,” Saleem said. – “The ancient Egyptians were fond of plants and flowers and believed that they had a sacred and symbolic effect. Bouquets of plants and flowers were placed next to the deceased during the funeral.

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Although the scans did not reveal his cause of death, they showed that the boy was 1.28 m tall and had an oval face with a small nose and narrow chin.

His authenticity remains unknown, but his good oral hygiene, high quality mummification, and amulets are evidence of his high socioeconomic status, according to the study.

The golden tongue placed in the boy's mouth was meant to help him speak in the afterlife. The knot of Isis amulet meant that the goddess Isi would protect his body. Amulets of a falcon and an ostrich feather represented the spiritual and material aspects of life.

An amulet shaped like the index and middle fingers of his right hand was found in his lower torso to protect his exposed stitches. and the golden scarab beetle helped in the difficult journey through the underworld.

“The heart hornet is mentioned in chapter 30 of the Book of the Dead: it had significance in the afterlife during the judgment of the dead and the weighing of the heart against the feather of the goddess Maat” Saleem said. – "The heart hornet silenced the heart on the Day of Judgment so that it would not become a witness against the deceased. During embalming, it was placed in the body cavity instead of the heart, if the body had ever been deprived of this organ.

By collecting data using CT scans, the researchers were able to print a copy of the heart hornet.

< p>The Golden Boy has been moved to the main exhibition hall of the Egyptian Museum and will be surrounded by CT images and a replica of a heart hornet to provide more information about the embalming process and death rituals of the ancient Egyptians.

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" The purpose of the exhibition was to bring this person from the past closer in order to teach modern people about life in antiquity,” the researchers wrote in their study.

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