‘Golden Boy’ mummy was buried with an amulet next to his penis

Most of us know someone who is a bit of a mummy’s boy.

But scientists have discovered a 2,300-year-old teenager who takes the crown – after being buried with 49 precious amulets.

Researchers from Cairo University used CT scans to ‘digitally unwrap’ a mummy who had been discovered more than 100 years ago in a cemetery in Nag el-Hassay in southern Egypt.

They found dozens of different amulets, many of which were made of gold, had been carefully placed on or inside the body.

These included a two-finger amulet next to the uncircumcised penis, a golden heart scarab placed inside the thoracic cavity, and a golden tongue inside the mouth. 

He was also clad in sandals and draped in garlands of ferns.

The ‘Golden boy’ mummy had been laid inside two coffins – an outer coffin with Greek inscription and an inner wooden sarcophagus.

Apart from the heart, his internal organs had been removed through an incision, while the brain had been removed through the nose and replaced with resin.

CT scans showed the boy was 128cm tall, between 14 and 15 years old, had good teeth and had no obvious known cause of death.

The amulets represent a wide range of Egyptian beliefs. 

For example, a golden tongue leaf was placed inside the mouth to ensure the boy could speak in the afterlife, while a right-angle amulet was meant to bring balance.

First author Dr Sahar Saleem said: ‘Here we show that this mummy’s body was extensively decorated with 49 amulets, beautifully stylized in a unique arrangement of three columns between the folds of the wrappings and inside the mummy’s body cavity.

‘These include the Eye of Horus, the scarab, the akhet amulet of the horizon, the placenta, the Knot of Isis, and others.

‘Many were made of gold, while some were made of semiprecious stones, fired clay, or faience. 

‘Their purpose was to protect the body and give it vitality in the afterlife.’

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, the researchers added: ‘Findings from this study suggest that ancient Egyptians valued their children and provided them with ritual treatment.’

The ancient Egyptians believed that when we died, our spiritual body sought out an afterlife similar to this world.

But entry into this afterlife was not guaranteed – it first required a perilous journey through the underworld, following by an individual last judgement.

For this reason, relatives and embalmers did everything they could to ensure that their loved one might reach a happy destination.

CT scans showed the boy was 128cm tall, between 14 and 15 years old, had good teeth (pictured) and had no obvious known cause of death



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