Ancient Egypt is one of the civilizations that raises most interest and curiosity for us in current times. Even though they created a whole discipline devoted to studying all things related to Egyptian history (egyptology), there are still many mysteries to unsolve and questions to answer about how their society worked.
A recent discovery announced in January 2021 has surfaced another one of those riddles that Egyptians seem to have left us almost on purpose.
Earlier this year, digging around the temple of Taposiris Magna, archaeologists found 16 mummies, two of which had golden tongues. In a statement made by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, they explained that this may have been done by the priest to ensure that the deceased had the ability to speak in the afterlife, especially to Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead.
Cult Of Death
If ancient Egyptians are known for something is their rich and diverse resourcefulness of funerary practices. Especially for their higher-ranked citizens, there were a series of procedures to ensure that their travel to the afterlife had all that could be needed.
Egyptians believed that when they died they went to an afterlife, thus the mummification in order to preserve the body and the fact that they were buried with possessions, treasures, cats to protect them, and servants to take care of them in the mentioned afterlife.
The process of mummification was long and expensive, and that’s why only the wealthy and royal ancient Egyptians are the ones that archaeologists find mummified in sarcophagi in their excavations.
Gold was as precious then as it is now, and many of the mummies have been found with gold artifacts; that’s why it is not a surprise to find mummies with golden tongues. In fact, in the Book of the Dead, an Egyptian text that depicts funerary practices, there’s a mention of covering the tongues of the dead with a gold foil to ensure the deceased could breathe, speak and eat in the afterlife.
Though it is a registered practice, what archaeologists are still to determine is why only two of the mummies found received this treatment. Did those two people have a higher rank in society? Or did they have some kind of speech impeachment so the priests thought that they would especially need the aid of a gold foil? We hope that more digging ends up leading us to more answers about this.