Golden-tongued mummies discovered near Alexandria


Archeologists working at a burial site near Alexandria have uncovered ancient mummies with golden tongues.

It is believed that the golden-tongued amulets helped the dead speak in the afterlife when they arrive at the Oserian court. The 2000-year-old golden mummies date back to the Graeco-Roman era when rock-cut tombs were still popular. 

Also read: South African army ends hijab ban for military service members

The team of Egyptian and Dominican archeologists has been working West of Alexandria in search of the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra when they stumbled upon 16 tombs resting in rock-cut crypts at the temple of Taposiris Magna. In a statement, Egypt’s  Ministry of Antiquities explained that the burial technique was widespread during the Roman and Greek periods. 

Also read: Patrick Zaki to remain in custody for another 15 days

The tombs comprised of several mummies that had golden tongues but were poorly preserved. In a statement from the lead archeologist Kathleen Martinez at the University of Santo Domingo, two of the mummies stood out as one was bandaged and wrapped in carton and layers of plastered linen or papyrus.

Golden decorations on its body bore the effigy of Osiris, the Egyptian god of death and the underworld. The second had a crown decorated with horns and a cobra and a pendant necklace in the form of a falcon’s head on its chest - representing Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis. 

The team became fixated on the Temple of Taposiris Magna after several coins bearing the names and images of Queen Cleopatra VII were discovered inside its walls. In addition, several parts of its statues including the temple foundation panels proved it was built by King Ptolemy IV. According to her statement, the statues that depicted buried people were well preserved to a point one could recognize the hairstyles, facial features, and headdress. 

Also read: South Africa secures 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine

According to the Director-General of Alexandria Antiquities, Dr. Khaled Abo El Hamd, among the items discovered this season was a female face burial mask, golden diadems, and eight sculptured masks made of marble. Despite their continued search for the legendary Ptotemic Queen, some believe her burial site is nowhere near that area. As the last Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra ruled from 51 - 30 BC and is a legendary figure among poets, playwrights, and movies. 

The Ptolemic dynasty 

The Ptolemic dynasty was of Greek origin and held the rein of power in Egypt from 323 to 30 B.C while ruling from Alexandria - the city attributed to Alexander the Great. Rather than become fully Egyptian, the Ptolemys coexisted both as Egyptian Pharaohs and Greek monarchs while remaining Greek in every respect of their language and traditions. 

This was the last dynasty of the Pharaohs before Egypt was subjugated under Roman rule. 

Also read: Green Turtle babies hatch along Kenya’s Southern coastline

Several new discoveries have been made in Egypt in recent years such as the discovery of a hundred sarcophagi statues in mid-November. 2020 was a successful year for the Egyptian community making several archaeological discoveries of historical relics in pristine condition. It is expected that this year we should see the same trend as the country highly publicizes the new finds in an effort to promote tourism numbers post-pandemic.