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The scanner reveals that the Egyptian mummy known as the “Golden Boy” is protected by 49 precious amulets.

Scientists have used CT scans to “digitally unravel” the nearly 2,300-year-old intact mummy of a high socioeconomic teenager known as the “Golden Boy.” Researchers say the body was equipped with 49 amulets of 21 different types, many of which were golden. In a journal article Frontiers in Medicine.

The “Golden Boy” was sent before his death with no fewer than 49 amulets of 21 types to facilitate his bodily resurrection. Among the amulets were a two-fingered scarab next to an uncircumcised penis, a golden heart-shaped scarab placed in the chest cavity, and a golden tongue inside the mouth. He wore sandals of ritual significance and garlands of ferns. This mummy is an example of Egyptian beliefs about death and the afterlife during the Ptolemaic period.

The ancient Egyptians believed that when we died, our spirit body sought after life in this world. But entry into this “afterlife” was not guaranteed: it first required a perilous journey through the underworld, followed by an individual final decision. For this reason, relatives and embalmers did everything to ensure that their loved one reached a happy destination.

“Here we show that the body of this mummy was extensively decorated with 49 amulets, beautifully stylized in a unique three-column arrangement between the folds of the wrapping and inside the mummy’s body cavity. These include the Eye of Horus, the Scarab, the Amulet of the Horizon (Akhet), the Placenta, the Knot of Isis, and more. Many were of gold, others of semi-precious stones, baked clay, or earthenware. Its purpose was to protect the body and give it vitality in the afterlife,” explains Dr. Sahar Salim, first author of the study and professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University (Egypt).

Sandals for walking in the afterlife

The mummy of the “Golden Boy” was found in 1916 in a cemetery that was used from about 332 to 30 BC. It has been kept until now in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The mummy was placed in two coffins, one with a Greek inscription on the outside and another with a wooden interior. Inside, he wore a golden mask for his head, a breastplate that covered the front of his body, and a pair of sandals. Except for the heart, the internal organs were removed through the incision, and the brain was removed from the nose and replaced with resin.

“The sandals were probably used to get the baby out of the coffin. According to the Egyptian ritual of the Book of the Dead, the deceased had to wear white sandals to be pious and clean before reciting the verses,” explains Salim.

There is no wisdom tooth

Scans revealed the boy was 128cm tall, uncircumcised and the cause of death other than natural. Based on the degree of fusion of the bone and the absence of wisdom teeth eruption, the authors estimate that the boy was between 14 and 15 years old. His teeth were in good condition, with no signs of caries, tooth loss or periodontal disease.

Around the outer surface of the mummy was a garland of ferns. “The ancient Egyptians were fascinated by plants and flowers and believed they had sacred and symbolic effects. Bunches of plants and flowers were placed on the deceased during burial: this was done, for example, with the mummies of the New Kingdom kings Ahmose, Amenhotep I and Ramses the Great. The dead were also offered plants during the holidays during each visit to the dead,” Salim explains.

Amulets are evidence of a wide range of Egyptian beliefs. For example, a golden tongue was placed in the mouth so that the child could speak in the afterlife, and a two-finger charm was placed next to the penis to protect the embalming incision. The Isis knot invoked the power of the goddess to protect the body, the rectangular amulet brought balance and alignment, and the double feathers of the falcon and ostrich represented the duality of spiritual and material life. A golden beetle was found in the chest cavity, a copy of which was printed by researchers using 3D printing.

A beetle to silence the heart

“The heart beetle is mentioned in Chapter 30 of the Book of the Dead: it was important in the trial of the dead in the ‘afterlife’ and the weighing of the heart with the feather of the goddess Maat. The heart beetle silenced the heart on judgment day so that it would not testify against the dead. It was placed in the torso cavity during mummification to replace the heart if the body ran out of that organ,” Salim explained.

Considering these interesting results, the management of the Egyptian Museum decided to move the mummy to the main exhibition hall, nicknamed “The Golden Boy”. At its new location, visitors can admire the mummy along with CT scan images and a 3D printer of the heart scarab amulet to get as close as possible to the glory of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Source: El Diario





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