Archeologists have discovered the mummified remains of a man and woman who died about 2,500 years ago in El Bahnasa, about 136 miles south of Cairo.
Three gold foil amulets in the shape of tongues were found buried with the mummies, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Two of the foils were larger, and one was for a 3-year-old child. They date to the Roman period in Egypt, starting in 30BC, The National reported.
Ancient Egyptians occasionally placed gold-foil tongues inside the mouths of the dead to enable them to speak to the god of the underworld, Osiris, in the afterlife.
In a rare find, one of the tombs, which dated back to the Saite dynasty, which ruled between 664–525 BC, was completely sealed.
According to Business Insider, archaeologists discovered a limestone sarcophagus containing a well-preserved male mummy with a golden tongue in its mouth. Other grave goods of the tomb included a scarab amulet, four canopic jars in which mummified organs were stored, and 400 funerary figurines made of glazed pottery.
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“This is very important because it’s rare to find a tomb that is totally sealed,” Esther Pons Mellado, co-director of the archaeological mission from the University of Barcelona, told The National.
“We are still studying the inscriptions on the vessels that, we assume, will reveal the identity of the buried person,” Maite Mascort, mission co-director, told La Vanguardia.
The second tomb of the woman had been opened in ancient times and the remains were not in a poor condition, Melado told The National.
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Inside the tomb were several pottery beads, a stone amulet, and a figure of the falcon-headed god Horus.
The discovery was made by a team of Spanish-led archaeologists who have been working in the area for nearly thirty years, the Egyptian ministry said in a statement.
Maite Mascort told La Vanguardia that papyrus had been found on top of the bandages of one of the mummies and that researchers were working to delicately unfold the pages and study them.
The Oxyrhynchus site, where the mummies were excavated, dates back to 664 BC and AD 7 and is considered one of the largest and most important archeological sites ever discovered.
Over the years, excavations in the area have uncovered a collection of papyrus texts dating back to the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt.
In February, archaeologists located another mummy with a golden foil tongue in Alexandria.
Mellado told The National that gold tongue foils have only been unearthed at archaeological sites in Alexandria and El Bahnasa.