Archaeologists in Egypt made a pretty interesting discovery when they unearthed a 2,000-year-old mummy with a gold tongue. The team of archaeologists from Egypt as well as the University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (led by archaeologist Kathleen Martinez from the Dominican Republic) made the discovery at an ancient site called Taposiris Magna.
While it’s unclear why the gold tongue was placed in the mummy’s mouth, one theory was that the embalmers put it there so that the deceased individual could speak to their god in the afterlife. For example, if the deceased individual met the god Osiris – the ruler of the underworld – the person would have to be able to speak in order to communicate with the deity.
This would make sense as there are several temples there that are dedicated to both Osiris and Isis (a goddess who was the wife and sister of Osiris). Interestingly, a previous discovery made by archaeologists included a bunch of coins that had the face and name of Cleopatra VII which indicated that the temples were being used while she ruled Egypt.
Other questions remain such as why the tongue was made out of gold and if perhaps the deceased person had a speech impediment while they were alive.
This gold-tongued mummy wasn’t the only individual found at the site as a total of 16 burials were unearthed there and they all date back approximately 2,000 years. While the exact date of their deaths is unknown, archaeologists have figured out that they were alive either when the Ptolemies ruled the country (from 304 BC to 30 BC) or when the Roman Empire took over after Cleopatra VII died in 30 BC.
Several of the mummies contained very interesting items with one of them being a female who was wearing a large funeral mask with eight gold flakes representing the leaves of a gold wreath and eight masks made of marble during the Greek and Roman eras. Her mask showed her smiling and wearing a headdress.
Scrolls were found near two of the mummies which experts are now attempting to decipher. And the layers of cartonnage that encased one of the individuals contained gold decorations depicting Osiris while the other mummy wore a crown that had decorations of horns and a cobra snake in addition to a gilded decoration of a wide necklace with a falcon head hanging from it (the falcon head depicts the god Horus).
Additional items recovered from the site include numerous statues of the people who were buried. In fact, the people’s headdresses and even their hairstyles were still noticeable on the statues because they were extremely well preserved.
Excavations are still being conducted at the site so archaeologists may make some more interesting discoveries. Pictures of the gold-tongued mummy and some of the statues can be seen here.