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Researchers Uncover 49 Amulets From A 2,300-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: January 25, 2023, 18:09 IST

Delhi, India

The external decoration of the mummy consists of a gold head mask, pectoral cartonnage, and sandals.  (Representative image)

The external decoration of the mummy consists of a gold head mask, pectoral cartonnage, and sandals. (Representative image)

Egyptian researchers uncovered 49 beautiful amulets, some of which were made of gold, inside a 2,300-year-old mummy.

A team of researchers from Cairo University in Egypt have discovered 49 priceless amulets, some made of gold, from a 2300-year-old mummy. The researchers digitally unwrapped the mummy of a teenage boy using computerized tomography scans. Details of the discovery were published in Frontiers In Medicine journal. The fully wrapped mummy from a Late Ptolemaic cemetery in Edfu, Egypt, has been held undisturbed at the Cairo Egyptian Museum since 1916.

Computed Tomography (CT) was used to scan and 3D-print the mummy to aid in documenting and promoting its public presentation.

The presence of male genitalia was used to confirm biological sex; epiphyseal fusion and teeth eruption suggested a death age of roughly 14-15 years. The deceased’s teeth and bones were in good condition and showed no signs of malnutrition or illness. A high-quality mummification procedure was discovered by CT. This involved the removal of the brain through an iatrogenic cribriform plate defect and the removal of the viscera by a left lower-abdominal incision. As a symbolic gesture, the heart was left within the chest. The emptied skull and thoracic cavities were filled with resin, and the body was then wrapped in linen.

“Here we show that this mummy’s body was extensively decorated with 49 amulets, beautifully stylized in a unique arrangement of three columns between the folds of the wrappings and inside the mummy’s body cavity. These include the Eye of Horus, the scarab, the akhet amulet of the horizon, the placenta, the Knot of Isis, and others. Many were made of gold, while some were made of semiprecious stones, fired clay, or faience. Their purpose was to protect the body and give it vitality in the afterlife,” said Dr Sahar Saleem, the study’s first author and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Cairo University, Egypt.

The external decoration of the mummy consists of a gold head mask, pectoral cartonnage, and sandals. Among the 49 detected amulets, 30 amulets found were made of gold, with the remaining amulets being made of faience, stones, or burnt clay. Amulets were inserted by the embalmers to guard against harm and to give the body strength for the afterlife.

All of these amulets were exquisitely stylized in a special arrangement that symbolized the might of many Egyptian gods and afterlife beliefs.

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first published:January 25, 2023, 18:05 IST
last updated:January 25, 2023, 18:09 IST
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