New digital scans have revealed details about a teenage boy who was mummified nearly 2,300 years ago.
A team of scientists led by Sahar Saleem, a professor of radiology at the Cairo University School of Medicine, concluded that the boy and his family were wealthy and of high social status, as his body was adorned with 49 precious amulets. attached.
Salim says: Their purpose was to protect the body and give life after death. ”
The team named the mummy Golden Boy. He was first discovered in 1916, in a cemetery used from 332 BC to 30 BC at Naguel his Hassey in southern Egypt. Until now, it was kept unchecked in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Body amulets included a golden heart scarab stuck in its throat and a golden tongue in its mouth.
Saleem said the amulets were “beautifully stylized with a unique arrangement of three pillars between the folds of the wrapping and inside the body cavity of the mummy. It includes the placenta, the Isis knot, and more.”
Saleem and her team used CT scans to be able to examine the insides of mummies without opening them.
In this study, the boy was estimated to be about 14 or 15 years old, based on the degree of skeletal bony union and the absence of wisdom teeth in his mouth. He also proved that he was not circumcised.
Experts say this is relatively rare in mummies, suggesting that the teenagers may not be Egyptian, providing evidence that outsiders may have been mummified as well. may be added.
Professor Salima Ikram, director of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, said of the study: “
Ikram, who was not involved in the study, added:
“He could have come from many different places. He could be Nubian, Greek, Persian, anywhere in Asia Minor, uncircumcised. All we can say is that he was probably not Jewish.”
She pointed out that only modern CT scans can capture this level of detail in mummified remains. But she warned:
One of the amulets found in the study was in the shape of two fingers and was placed next to the boy’s penis.
According to the British Museum, one such amulet represents the hand of the embalmer. Saleem’s team said they placed it near the embalming incision, believing it would help the body heal after death.
However, Ikram is unsure of this interpretation. she said: We don’t really know what it stands for.
“It can be interpreted as the hand of a midwife using two fingers to draw mucus out of a child’s mouth. According to the Egyptians, when a person dies, he is reborn.”
“For the Egyptians, the process of mummification is the transformation of a human being into a divine being, and the flesh of the gods is gold.”
A scan revealed that the boy was wearing sandals. Salim says: According to the Ancient Egyptian Ritual Book of the Dead, the deceased had to wear white sandals to be reverent and clean before reciting scriptures. ”
Ikram praised the details of the study. “It is very exciting to have this level of detailed research. It builds a larger dataset for Egyptologists to better understand the lives of ancient peoples and their religious and cultural beliefs.” It’s part of what we do.”