A teenager whose mummy had been kept in a museum
was covered in precious amulets, a study published Tuesday found.
A team of scientists has digitally unwrapped the
-old mummy using a CT scanner to unlock its secrets.
The team discovered that the so-called
was lavishly mummified with
gold and semi-precious stones.
protective amulets were precisely placed in three columns on his body, suggesting that he was wealthy and of high status,
Science Alert reports.
The mummy with a gilt gold mask and well wrapped.
Ferns were placed on her chest (Salem et al., Frontiers in Medicine, 2023).
The find is "definitely extraordinary" as high-ranking mummies were often looted for their precious adornments, said Sahar Saleem, an author of the study and a professor of radiology at Cairo University's medical school.
this mummy has not been disturbed
, it provides a unique insight into how embalmers would carefully place amulets on the body to protect the dead, he said.
Amulets to protect the dead
"The ancient Egyptians believed in the power of amulets, which depended on their material, color and shape," Saleem said, according to
The different amulets that the mummy has (Salem et al., Fronteras en Medicina, 2023).
"During mummification, the embalmers would say prayers and recite verses from the 'Book of the Dead' while placing amulets inside the mummy or between the wrappings," he said.
Each amulet had a specific meaning to protect the boy, who
was about 14 or 15 years old
when he died.
A beetle for the heart and a tongue of gold
near the boy's heart, engraved with verses from the Book of the Dead, would have helped him be kindly judged in the afterlife, Saleem said,
Science Alert says.
"The heart beetle was mentioned in Chapter 30 of the Book of the Dead; it was very important in the afterlife during the trial of the deceased and the weighing of the heart against the feather of Maat", the goddess of truth, justice, the balance and the majority, Saleem said.
“The heart beetle silenced the heart on Judgment Day so as not to bear witness against the deceased,” he added.
The arrow shows the location of a dense golden amulet placed in the child's mouth.
The boy's eye sockets were lined with flax (Salem et al., Frontiers in Medicine, 2023).
A golden tongue-shaped blade
was also placed
in the child's mouth.
This ensured that the boy could speak to the gods after death, reports
Another notable amulet was placed
near the boy's penis.
The "two-fingered" amulet is meant to provide protection for the incision made on him, Saleem said.
The other amulets had various other protective functions.
A "flask" amulet depicted
carrying holy water
in the afterlife.
A "Djed" amulet, representing the spine of the god Osiris, ensured the safe resuscitation of the deceased.
A "right angle" amulet brought
balance and leveling
to the deceased.
These findings are "exciting," Wojciech Ejsmond, an Egyptologist with the Warsaw Mummy Project who was not involved in the study, told
"This study provides valuable information about how the ancient Egyptians lived, died, and what they thought would happen next," he said.
The amazing sandals
The boy was also found wearing white sandals in his grave.
According to the Book of the Dead, the deceased had to
wear white sandals and be pious and clean
before reciting the verses from him.
"The sandals were probably intended to allow the child to climb out of the coffin," Saleem said in a press release,
Science Alert says.
The incredible sandals the mummy was wearing (Salem et al., Frontiers in Medicine, 2023).
"Golden sandals were also found in royal tombs; for example, Thutmosis III," Saleem told
This may indicate that while the child was of high rank, he may not have been a member of the royal family.
A look at circumcision
Another unexpected find has to do with
the boy's penis
Saleem said the scan suggests the boy
was not circumcised
That's unlike another high-ranking figure, King Amenhotep I, whom Saleem also studied,
Science Alert reports.
This may indicate that the ancient Egyptians were only circumcised as
But Salima Ikram, head of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, has another theory.
He had amulets of different shapes and sizes, represented by white shapes (SN Saleem, SA Seddik, Mel-Halwagy).
"The lack of circumcision is interesting, as it might tell us something about their ethnicity: Egyptians were usually circumcised
before the age of 13
," he told
"It could suggest that foreigners adopted Egyptian burial practices, and we know the Persians did," he said, according to
However, he cautioned: "I wouldn't hang all this on a brittle foreskin."
Who was this boy?
The child can reveal even more secrets.
The mummy cardboard is colorful (SN Saleem, SA Seddik, Mel-Halwagy).
According to the records of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, it was discovered for the first time in
in a cemetery used since 332 BC.
C. until 30 a.
C. in Nag el-Hassay, in southern Egypt, says
The boy would have been "an eyewitness to the decline of the ancient Egyptian civilization, possibly to the turmoil during the time of the last Ptolemaic kings, and perhaps even to a brief revival of Egypt's greatness during the reign of Cleopatra," he said. ejsmond.
His name is, so far,
But scientists are closely studying his sarcophagus to find more clues about who he was, Saleem said.
Source: Frontiers in Medicine.
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