Researchers Uncover Bejeweled ‘Golden Boy’ Mummy

MajorsJan 30, 2023

Researchers Uncover Bejeweled ‘Golden Boy’ Mummy

The ancient Egyptian teenager was buried 2,300 years ago with 49 amulets to guide him through the afterlife.

Researchers scanned the mummified body of an ancient Egyptian teenager, revealing 49 amulets, and shared the findings in a recent study.
Cairo, Egypt—A team of scientists took digital scans of an Egyptian mummy, revealing a treasure trove of protective amulets made of gold, clay, and other materials.

The wrapped mummy was buried around 2,300 years ago in the late Ptolemaic era in a southern Egyptian cemetery and has been stored, undisturbed, in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo since 1916, according to a study published last week in Frontiers in Medicine.

“In the past, mummies were unwrapped and subjected to invasive dissection for research and entertainment. Finding an ideal compromise between investigating a mummy and not destroying it encouraged the use of less invasive methods,” said the study.

The team used Computed Tomography, or a CT scan, combined with 3D printing technology to get a better look at the mummy and its jewels.

The study was approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The mummy is thought to be a teenage boy, between 14 and 15 years old. The cause of death could not be determined and museum records gave no additional information about his identity, though the presence of gold amulets signifies a high socioeconomic status level, said researchers.

Rather than disturb the remains, researchers used a CT scan and 3D printing to get a better look at the mummy.
Rather than disturb the remains, researchers used a CT scan and 3D printing to get a better look at the mummy.

His body was covered in a brown wrapping with a gilded head mask on top. The mask’s eyes and eyebrows are inlaid with stones while the eye pupils are made of black obsidian.

Inside the mummy and between the wrappings, the scientists found 49 amulets of 21 different shapes, including a scarab and the Eye of Horus.

The scarab represents the god Kheper, who was said to move the sun across the sky. A scarab amulet was thought to hold the power of resurrection.

The CT images found seven scarab amulets, six on his head and one in his torso. The one in his chest is likely a gold heart-scarab, which is a large amulet inscribed with text from The Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian religious text. 

A right-angle symbol, used by architects as a leveler, was also found in the torso, thought to bring balance to the deceased.

The Eye of Horus, also called an udjat, represented the god Horus and was meant to provide healing and regeneration. It was popular among the living and the dead in ancient Egypt.

The bottle amulet represented the situla, a metal bucket used to carry holy water. 

The djed amulet, which looks like a pillar, symbolized the backbone of the god Osiris and was meant to ensure the dead’s revival.

The tyt amulet, also known as the god Isis’ knot, provided her protection. The double-plume amulet symbolized two lives, spiritual and material.

Researchers also discovered a gold amulet inside his mouth, placed there so he could speak in the afterlife.

“The embalmers placed amulets to protect and provide vitality for the body for the afterlife,” said the researchers.

Amulets have also been found inside the mummies of kings, like Amenhotep I, Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses III.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Ancient Egyptians believed an amulet’s magical power came from its shape, material, and color.

Thirty of the amulets were metal, likely gold, while the others were made of stone, fired clay, or Egyptian faience, a glazed ceramic material.

“The presence of golden amulets within the studied mummy indicated an expensive mummification process,” said the study, providing insight into the boy’s socioeconomic status.

Where the amulets were placed on the body was also important and a symmetrical balanced arrangement was common in mummies of the time.

The amulets were arranged in three columns, across the midline and bilaterally.

The mummy is now on display in the Egyptian Museum’s showroom alongside a documentary sharing the CT data and images. Visitors are able to hold the 3D printed golden scarab.

The goal of the display is to humanize the “Golden Boy” and teach museumgoers about life in ancient times.

The Latest

AuctionsMar 29, 2023
10.57-Carat Purplish Pink Diamond Expected to Sell for $35M+

Sotheby’s will auction the diamond, which it says is “arguably the most significant pink diamond to ever appear at auction,” in June.

WatchesMar 29, 2023
See All the New Patek Philippe Watches for 2023

The Swiss watchmaker introduced 17 new models at Watches & Wonders Geneva.

EditorsMar 28, 2023
I’m Enchanted With Parmigiani Fleurier’s Perfect Travel Watch

At Watches & Wonders, the Swiss brand unveiled a follow-up to last year’s Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.

Brought to you by
Full Disclosure at Your Fingertips

Distinguishing natural diamonds from laboratory-grown stones – now more available than ever – has been difficult for jewelers. Until now.

CollectionsMar 28, 2023
Helzberg’s New Lab-Grown Diamond Collection Earns SCS Certification

The “rêve” collection’s engagement rings and wedding bands are geared toward “sustainability minded customers.”

Weekly QuizMar 23, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
EditorsMar 28, 2023
This New Rolex Day-Date Tells Time … and Affirmations

A new word appears on the dial each day of the week.

IndependentsMar 28, 2023
D.C. Jeweler That Honored 50-Year-Old Gift Certificate Closes

Bensons Jewelers closed for good Feb. 24, impacted in part by the decline in foot traffic downtown since the onset of the pandemic.

Brought to you by
Bringing Over 130 Years of Diamond Expertise to Modern Grading

De Beers Institute of Diamonds provides the very best in diamond verification, education and diamond services.

MajorsMar 28, 2023
Swarovski Names New GM of North America

Kolja Kiofsky has been with the crystal and jewelry company since 2010.

AuctionsMar 27, 2023
Jewels to Shine in Upcoming ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood Auction

The Kruse GWS Auctions sale will include the replica “Taj Mahal” necklace Elizabeth Taylor made with Avon as well as a costume piece Marilyn Monroe wore.

MajorsMar 27, 2023
Pandora Promotes GM to Chief of Retail Operations

Massimo Basei is moving up, while Chief Commercial Officer Martino Pessina is stepping down.

Events & AwardsMar 27, 2023
Registration Is Open for the HardRock Summit

AGTA GemFair and the Denver Gem & Mineral Show also will have a presence on the show floor.

AuctionsMar 24, 2023
Piece of the Week: The $5.8M Patek Philippe ‘Sky Moon Tourbillon’

Sold by Christie’s Hong Kong, this masterwork of complications now holds the record for most expensive watch ever auctioned online.

FinancialsMar 24, 2023
Movado Predicts Declining Sales Amid ‘Volatile’ Retail Environment

The watch company expects first-quarter sales to fall as much as 15 percent due to inflation and tough comps.

Lab-GrownMar 24, 2023
Lightbox Promotes General Manager to COO

Adam O’Grady, general manager of the Lightbox Lab, has taken on the new role and will report directly to Lightbox CEO Antoine Borde.

WatchesMar 23, 2023
Which Brands Do Watch Enthusiasts Love Most? Chrono24 Takes a Look

The watch marketplace gathered data from 1.3 million collectors, highlighting the most popular timepieces and exploring value appreciation.

SourcingMar 23, 2023
Burgundy Diamond Backing Out of Ellendale Mine Deal

Burgundy has opted not to exercise its option to buy the mining claims Gibb River Diamonds currently owns.

GradingMar 23, 2023
GCAL Introduces 8X Cut Grade for Proprietary Cuts

Patented and specialty cuts now can receive an 8X Proprietary Certificate, which can be customized to include a company’s brand and logo.

Events & AwardsMar 23, 2023
Diamonds Do Good Names 2023 Award Recipients

The organization said it will recognize those who exemplify the idea that doing good is good business.

CollectionsMar 22, 2023
Messika’s 2023 Campaign Pairs New Jewelry With Vintage Cars

Kendall Jenner once again is fronting the French brand’s campaign, joined by model and dancer Alton Mason.

Events & AwardsMar 22, 2023
Hari Krishna Exports Hosts Gala Amid UN Water Conference

The CEOs of Signet, Helzberg, and GIA spoke on a water conservation panel, and had lakes named in their companies’ honor.

Policies & IssuesMar 22, 2023
See Kwiat’s Bracelet for World Water Day

Sales of the sleek sterling silver and diamond design will go to nonprofit organization charity: water.

AuctionsMar 21, 2023
Marlene Dietrich’s Van Cleef & Arpels Bracelet Going Up for Auction

Expected to earn up to $4.5 million, the “Jarretière” bracelet is the star of Christie’s “The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower” sale.

ColumnistsMar 21, 2023
Squirrel Spotting: Customer Retention Mindset—The New CRM

With jewelry sales coming down from their pandemic highs, retailers need to do all they can to retain existing customers, Peter Smith says.

Events & AwardsMar 21, 2023
ASJRA’s May Conference Examines ‘Iconic’ Jewelry Companies

Jewelry historians, authors, and experts will explore the works of Tiffany & Co., Oscar Heyman, Verdura, and more.

IndependentsMar 21, 2023
Borsheims Executive Jennifer Johnson Retires

Johnson joined the retailer in 1987, establishing its first human resources department.

Recorded WebinarsMar 20, 2023
Watch: Lab Grown Diamonds: What's Now? What's New? What's Next?

Supplier Spotlight Presented by IGI


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy