Egypt: discovery of mummies with golden tongues near Alexandria
Sylvie Claire / February 3, 2021
An Egyptian-Dominican archaeological mission discovered near Alexandria mummies endowed with a golden tongue and dating back about 2,000 years, said Wednesday to AFP the Egyptian authorities.
The mission discovered sixteen rock-hewn tombs , in the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria, in northern Egypt, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement, adding that the technique used was widespread in Greek and Roman times.
These tombs contained several mummies in a poor state of preservation but with amulets wrapped in gold leaf in the shape of a tongue.
These were deposited in the mouths of the deceased, according to a practice observed elsewhere, to ensure that they can speak in the afterlife, the ministry said.
Two mummies in particular caught the attention of scientists, he said, quoting Mission Director Kathleen Martinez. Requested by the AFP, the latter was not available immediately Wednesday.
The first mummy has preserved strips and parts of the cartouche -- layers of glued, stuccoed, and painted linen cloth wrapped around the mummy -- gilded with the effigy of Osiris, the god of the dead.
And the second wore a crown adorned with horns and a cobra on the forehead and a necklace with a pendant in the shape of a hawk's head, representing the Pharaonic god Horus, son of Isis and Osiris.
The mission also uncovered a female funerary mask, a gold tiara, and eight marble masks with carved details, according to Khaled Abu al-Hamd, Director of Antiquities of Alexandria, quoted in the release.
The mission has been conducting excavations for several years west of Alexandria in an attempt to find the tomb of the legendary Queen Cleopatra.
However, doubts persist in archaeological circles concerning the probability of finding this burial in these places for lack of proof , to date, indicating its presence there.
The Ptolemaic Dynasty (about 330-30 BC), of Greek origin, was the last Pharaonic dynasty before Egypt came under Roman rule. Cleopatra was its last ruler.