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Golden Tongue Found in Mummy’s Mouth in Egypt

Golden Tongue Found in Mummy’s Mouth in Egypt

Monday, 6 December, 2021 - 12:30
A golden tongue was found inside the mouth of an Egyptian mummy. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

Egypt announced on Sunday the discovery of two adjacent tombs dating back to the Saite Period (also known as the Sawy Period) by a University of Barcelona archaeological mission working on an excavation in Al-Bahnasa archaeological site in the Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt.

In a statement, Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary-General Dr. Mustapha Waziri said: “The mission from the University of Barcelona in Spain found a golden tongue inside the mouth of an unidentified mummy, as well as a limestone coffin with a cover that has the form of a woman, next to which were the remains of another unknown person.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Jamal al-Samastawi, the director-general of Middle Egypt Antiquities, said: “The person in the tomb has not been identified. The mummy that was found is in poor condition, and studies to determine whom it was are currently underway.”

Director of the Antiquities Museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Dr. Hussein Abdel Basser, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Placing a golden tongue inside a mummy’s mouth has religious and funerary implications for ancient Egyptians. It is put there so that the mummy can speak when addressed in the other world.”

He also pointed out that choice of gold is linked to the god Amun-Ra, (the god of the sun), noting that “the most famous example of a gold tongue being found were those of tombs of Taposiris Magna in Alexandria, which date back to the Greco-Roman era.”

Sunday's discovery was preceded by another announced by the Spanish mission in May 2020, when it found a tomb dating back to the Saite Period, as well as eight tombs dating back to the Roman Period.

The discovery adds to those made since the mission began working in the area over 30 years ago, Samastawi said, adding that “the two tombs date back to the Saite Period, the 26th Dynasty. We expect that other antiquities from other periods will be found there.”

The mission also found a well-preserved limestone tomb, as well as two niches, inside each of which were Canopic equipment, as well as 402 Ushabti figurines made of faience, a set of small amulets and green beads.

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