Archaeologists working at a burial site in Egypt have unearthed ancient mummies with golden tongues. The Egyptian ministry of tourism and antiquities announced the discovery in a Facebook post.
The team, headed by Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, were working at the Taposiris Magna Temple in western Alexandria when they discovered 16 burial shafts dating from the Greek and Roman eras. The golden-tongued mummy was among countless others recently found in Alexandria.
Ancient Egyptians often buried their dead with objects that might help them in their journey to the afterlife, such as food, wine, and jewellery. The team discovered the burials in the rock-cut tombs that were popular during the Greek and Roman eras.
The mummies inside were “in a state of poor preservation,” the ministry said, adding that this was characteristic of mummification during the Greek and Roman eras.
According to Dominican archaeologist Kathleen Martínez, two of the most important mummies the group found were buried with decorative cartonnage – a material made of papyrus and linen that Egyptians used to encase mummies head to toe.
One mummy’s cartonnage depicted Osiris, while the other is decorated with a crown of horns, a cobra snake on its forehead, and a falcon-head necklace, which symbolizes Horus, the Egyptian sun god. The two mummies were also entombed with partial scrolls, which are now being deciphered.
Diggers found another mummy wearing a death mask with eye holes; death masks helped guide spirits of the deceased back to their bodies and protected the dead in the afterlife.
Khaled Abo El Hamd, director-general of the Alexandria antiquities ministry, reported the expedition had also unearthed eight marble heads dating back to the Greek and Roman eras.
Over the past 10 years, the ministry has made numerous discoveries at Taposiris Magna, including a number of coins bearing the name and image of Queen Cleopatra VII within the temple walls. It also uncovered parts of numerous statues and evidence of a temple built by King Ptolemy IV.