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Egyptian Mummies Had Gold Tongues To Talk To The Gods In The Afterlife

Recent digs in Egypt have revealed gold tongues in the mouths of some of the mummies.


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

A tongue-shaped flattened piece of gold found in the remains of an egyptian mummy

A number of mummies have been found with golden tongues. Image credit: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Excavations in Egypt have uncovered a bunch of ancient mummies with golden tongues that were believed to help the deceased talk in their passage to the afterlife. The mummies were found at the Qewaisna necropolis in the central Nile Delta, just over an hour's drive from the capital Cairo.

The bodies were found in wooden coffins dating back to different time periods and, unfortunately, are in a poor state of preservation after laying buried for thousands of years, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. However, their fancy gold tongues remain as shiny and impressive as ever. 


The rare metal tongues were found in the skulls of a number of the mummies, a feature that has been seen in previously discovered examples of ancient Egyptian mummies. The gold tongue-shaped amulet was placed in the mouth of the deceased person during a special burial ritual to ensure their ability to speak in the afterlife before the court of Osiris, the god of the underworld. 

Three golden flattened tongues that belonged to Egytpian mummies
Three gold tongues of a man, woman, and child mummy were found in December 2021. Image credit: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Ancient Egyptian culture is full of complex rituals related to the afterlife and people of this time often went to great lengths to ensure others had a smooth journey to the realm of the dead, known as the Duat. 

Back in 2019, researchers revealed that an inscribed text discovered in a burial shaft in the Middle Egyptian necropolis of Dayr al-Barsha likely contained the earliest known copy of The Book of Two Ways, a kind of illustrated “guidebook” to the underworld.

Similar to other religions, the gods judged the dead before they could gain access to a happy afterlife. Part of this process was known as the “weighing the heart” whereby the gods assess your worth by seeing how much your heart is weighed down by the bad deeds you may have committed in your Earthly lifetime. 


Another part of this journey into the underworld involves standing before dozens of divine judges and contesting your innocence. Who knows, perhaps possessing a golden tongue would serve a person well in their attempts to charm their way into the underworld. 


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