Archeologists Just Discovered Mummies with Gold Tongues in Egypt

A team of archaeologists from Egypt and the Dominican Republic has announced the discovery of something that puts us in the mood to stream The Mummy from ’99: 16 burial plots at an ancient temple city in Alexandria. And while they’re poorly preserved, some of the buried mummies have in their mouths gold tongues; amulets the deceased were supposed to use in the afterlife to speak to the gods.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiques announced the team’s findings in a recent press release. In the release, which comes via Boing Boing, the Ministry says the team uncovered the Greco-Roman-era burials at the Temple of Taposiris Magna (bottom). Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who ruled 2,500 years ago, established the city, naming it the “Great Tomb of Osiris.”

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiques

Dr. Kathleen Martinez, an archaeologist (and lawyer) at the University of Santo Domingo, led the team of researchers. According to Martinez, whose comments the Ministry described in its release, two of the 16 mummies stand out as special.

Both of the stand-out mummies, found in sarcophagi—or stone coffins—contained the remains of scrolls, as well as parts of their cartonnage; that is, the material consisting of linen and papyrus that makes up ancient Egyptian funerary masks. One of these mummies also included the remains of gilded decorations showing tribute to the god Osiris.

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiques

A horned Atef crown with a cobra head on its frontside adorns the other stand-out mummy. That mummy also has a gilded decoration on its chest, representing a wide necklace from which hangs the head of a falcon: the symbol of the god Horus. And while that sounds cool, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem the team has provided pictures of that decoration yet. (The image immediately above is of a body-length funerary mask on one of the other mummies.)

As for the golden, tongue-shaped foil amulets, Martinez’s team found them inside multiple mummies’ mouths. The researchers say ancient Egyptians would’ve placed these gold tongues to insure the deceased could speak “before the Osirian court” in an eloquent manner. Which we can only imagine means the dead would’ve had to make the case for their existence in the afterlife; a.k.a., the eternal streaming service in the sky. (Yes, we’re still thinking about where we can find The Mummy for free.)


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