Archaeologists in Egypt uncover 2,000-year-old mummy with gold tongue

Archaeology team in Egypt find lion mummy at famed pyramid site

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said archaeologists excavated the mummy in Saqqara, a town south of Cairo. The Ministry of Antiquities is planning to announce additional details about the discovery at the end of the month. In 2004, the first lion skeleton was found, revealing the sacred status of the animal during ancient times.

A 2,000-year-old, gold-tongued mummy has been uncovered amid a dig in northern Egypt, according to reports.

The mummy was among 16 burials uncovered in poorly preserved rock-cut tombs at the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria, and is an example of burial practices during the country’s Greco-Roman period, the Daily News Egypt newspaper reported.

The ancient Egyptians would have given the mummy a gold tongue during a ritual to help him speak to Osiris, the god of the underworld, in the afterlife, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement.

The gold foil amulet was just one of several important finds during the dig.

The team of Dominican and Egyptian archaeologists also found two mummies wrapped in gilded cartonnage, which is plastered layers of papyrus or linen, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

The gold amulet would be placed in the mummy’s mouth during a burial ritual.
(Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

One of the two mummies had a crown decorated with horns and a cobra on its forehead. Its chest had a gilded decoration in the shape of a necklace with a falcon’s head pendant, the symbol of the god Horus. The other mummy was adorned with gilded decorations depicting Osiris.

Lead archaeologist Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic called those two mummies among the most important finds of the excavation, the ministry said.

Other significant finds the team has discovered recently include a funeral mask for a woman, eight golden flakes representing the leaves of a golden wreath, and eight masks of marble dating back to the Greek and Roman eras.

“These masks show high craftsmanship in Sculpture and depiction of the features of its owners,” said Khaled Abo El Hamd, director general of The Alexandria Antiquities, according to the ministry.

In the last 10 years, the team has also made other important discoveries at the temple site, such as coins with the image of Cleopatra, who ruled Egypt from 51 to 30 BCE, and the temple’s foundation panels that revealed it was built by King Ptolemy IV, who ruled from 221 to 204 BCE, the Daily News reported. 

The city of Taposiris Magna was founded between 280 and 270 BCE by Ptolemy II. His father, Ptolemy I, was a general to Alexander the Great.

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