The mummified remains of a teenager, stored unexamined at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum for more than a century, have been unwrapped digitally for the first time, revealing an excess of amulets and plants that adorned his body.
In a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine on Tuesday, researchers reveal that the unnamed teenager, just 14 or 15 years old, walked into the afterlife wearing a pair of white sandals. They used a CT scan, which allows for digital reconstructions of bones, blood vessels, soft tissue and more via X-rays, to look inside the coffin.
“Here we show that the body of this mummy was extensively decorated with 49 amulets, beautifully stylized in a unique three-column arrangement between the folds of the wrappings and within the mummy’s body cavity,” said Sahar Saleem, a radiologist at the Cairo University, Egypt. and first author of the article. They have nicknamed the mummy “Golden Boy”.
Saleem notes that the Golden Boy’s adornments are in line with some of the rituals described in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, including the sandals. He was adorned with three columns of amulets between the folds of his wrappings, including elements such as the Eye of Horus: a scarab within his chest and a two-fingered amulet next to his penis. Many of the ornaments were made of gold.
All of her organs had been removed except for her heart, and scans revealed that she also had immaculate teeth.
Golden Boy’s coffin was first discovered in 1916 in a necropolis at Nag el Hassaya, which was the cemetery for the city of Edfu. The boy lived during the Ptolemaic period between around 330 and 30 B.C. C. and probably had a high status. His cause of death is unknown, but there were no signs that he was unnatural.
Saleem and his colleagues had previouslyin 2021 and was responsible for discovering a knife wound to Ramesses III’s throat, as well as a missing toe, suggesting he was murdered by a gang of assassins.
The Egyptians believed that life did not end with death. Instead, there was a life after death. The mummification process and the placement of ornaments, amulets, and plants were designed to help the spirit of the dead navigate the afterlife. Golden Boy provides further evidence of funerary rituals and the importance of these adornments during the boy’s life in the Ptolemaic period.
The investigation led the Egyptian Museum to move Golden Boy from the basement to its main exhibition hall, where it will now be displayed.