In 1916, a very unusual mummy was discovered in a cemetery in southern Egypt, having lain there for a whopping 2,300 years. Today is jealously guarded in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and, thanks to new digital scans, we know why it is so protected.
The mummy belongs to a mummified teenager, covered in protective amulets (49 to be exact) both inside and outside his body, many of these are gold. They were meant to help the boy in his afterlife journey, according to a study published in Frontiers in Medicine.
“The ancient Egyptians believed in the power of amulets, which they depended on by material, color and shapesaid Sahar Saleem, the study’s lead author and a radiologist at the Cairo University School of Medicine, Egypt. “During the mummification, the embalmers said prayers and recited verses from the ‘Book of the Dead’, while placing the amulets inside the mummy or between the wrappings”.
Before now, we knew nothing of the amount of gold that covered the now famous “Golden boy” and this was possible thanks to computed tomography. She also managed to shed light on a particular ornament that adorned the young man’s face: a completely gold mask. Thanks to CT scans we can “digitally dissect” the remains of these ancient mummies, keeping their bodies intact.
The new scans also showed how much detail there was in the organization of the burial: the amulets were arranged to form three columns and each of them is different sizes and shapes.
[SN Saleem, SA Seddik, M el-Halwagy]