While excavating at Taposiris Magna temple in Alexandria, Egypt archaeologists unearthed several rock-cut tombs. Inside them were 2,000-year-old mummies who had been given golden tongues so they could speak in the afterlife.
“Throughout their history, the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, and that you would be judged by Osiris, the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. It was important to prepare the dead bodies for eternal existence in joy and happiness.
Numerous tombs of various styles and dates containing carefully prepared bodies and a variety of funerary goods reveal an ancient Egyptian belief in afterlife, which was not the end of life but only a transition to another reality.”
Preparing a person on his or her way to the afterlife was a long process.
“Mummification was an important part of this ritual but also all vital internal organs had to accompany the deceased on his (her) journey to the underworld in order to be reborn. However, the heart of the deceased was never among the organs chosen for preservation in canopic jars. This precious organ was the source of wisdom and the seat of memory and emotions of the human being, according to the Egyptian beliefs.”
The discovered mummies in Alexandria were in poor condition but according to the Egyptian-Dominican team working at the site, the deceased were well-equipped on their journey to the other side. As many as 16 rock-cut tombs popular in the Greek and Roman eras have been unearthed and many of the examined mummies had been given gold foil amulets shaped like tongues.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities scientists also discovered God Osiris pictured in gilded decorations on the cartonnage, a material made of layers of plaster, linen, and glue – that was partially encasing one of the mummies.
Lead archaeologist Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo explained the gilded decorations on the cartonnage around a second mummy’s head depicted a crown, horns, and a cobra snake. On the chest, the decorations depicted a necklace from which hung the head of a falcon – the symbol of the god Horus who was worshipped in different forms throughout Egypt from the predynastic period before Egypt was united under one ruler until Roman times.