Many of the burial traditions seen on this mummy come from instructions laid out in The Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian text which outlines how to ensure safe passage to the afterlife.
A mummified teenager with a heart of gold has been “digitally unwrapped” approximately 2,300 years after he was buried.
The undisturbed remains of the boy, estimated to be 14 or 15 years old when he died, were examined via CT scans, revealing the lengths his family went to in attempting to ensure his safe passage to the afterlife.
Ancient Egyptians believed that when people died, their spirit embarked on a dangerous journey into the underworld, where their character would be judged.
To ensure a positive outcome, a place in the afterlife, this particular teenager was buried with 49 amulets – including a golden scarab where his heart would have been and a golden tongue inside his mouth.
The mummy dates back to the Ptolemaic period, when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of the same name.
He was found at a cemetery used between approximately 332 and 30 BC in Nag el-Hassay in southern Egypt during the First World War, but was left unexamined in the basement of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum until now.
Thanks to the findings of the new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, the mummy was moved to the main exhibition hall under the nickname “Golden boy”.
Not only was the mummy decorated with 49 amulets, reflecting his high class status, he also wore a gilded mask, a pectoral cartonnage on his torso, and a pair of sandals.
“The sandals were probably meant to enable the boy to walk out of the coffin,” said Dr Sahar Saleem, professor of medicine at Cairo University and lead author on the study.
“According to the ancient Egyptians’ ritual Book of The Dead, the deceased had to wear white sandals to be pious and clean before reciting its verses.”
The mummy was placed inside two coffins – the inner one made of wood, while the outer bore a Greek inscription.
He was surrounded by ferns, as was an ancient Egyptian tradition.
Dr Saleem said: “Ancient Egyptians were fascinated by plants and flowers and believed they possessed sacred and symbolic effects.”
As well as having his heart removed, the boy had his brain taken out through his nose.
But it was replaced with resin rather than anything golden.
His teeth were in good shape, though, with no evidence of disease or cavities.
Researchers have been unable to identify a cause of death beyond natural causes.
Source: Sky Technology