More Than Gilded: 'Golden Tongue Mummy' Found in Egypt

Clay Curtis
February 3, 2021

Archaeologists have found a 2,000-year-old mummy with a gold tongue at an ancient Egyptian site called Taposiris Magna.

The golden tongued mummy was among countless others recently discovered in Alexandria, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced Friday.

For instance, if the golden-tongued mummy encountered Osiris, the god of the underworld, in the afterlife, they would have needed to be able to speak to the god, the statement said.

Inside were poorly-preserved mummies. It's also not clear why the tongue was made out of gold specifically.

Researchers working at the same site have previously found ancient coins bearing the name and image of Queen Cleopatra VII, the fabled final queen of Egypt during the close of the Greek-speaking Ptolemaic Kingdom.

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Some mummies were decorated after they were buriedA female mummy covered with a death mask from Alexandria, Egypt. One mummy had a gold tongue; some were buried wearing death masks. Two mummies were buried with scrolls, the writing is now being deciphered. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris was the god of the afterlife, as well as fertility and agriculture.

Artefacts such as remnants of ancient scrolls or statues depicting people buried at the site were found by archaeologists as well.

Depiction of deceased man, with detailed hairstyle.

While the tongue amulets might have been the most striking element of the find, Dr Khaled Abo El Hamd, director-general of the Alexandria Antiquities, was cited as saying that the most important discoveries of this archaeological season were "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".

The excavations led the team of the University of Santo Domingo, which has been working at the site for almost a decade, to discover eariler several coins inside the temple of Taposiris Magna with the face of Queen Cleopatra VII engraved on them, which indicates that she ruled when these individuals were buried in their rock-cut tombs.

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