Experts Baffled By Discovery Of Ancient Egyptian Mummy With Gold Tongue

Published February 1, 2021
Updated February 5, 2021

Researchers think the gold tongue was given to the deceased so that they could converse with the gods in the afterlife.

Mummy With Gold Tongue

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and AntiquitiesIt’s also theorized that the deceased had a speech impediment and was given the golden tongue to communicate in the afterlife.

For Egyptologists seeking the long-lost tomb of Cleopatra, the archaeological site of Taposiris Magna in Alexandria continues to look promising. Coins that depicted the queen’s face were found there in the past, which suggested that the temples there were in use during her reign. Then last week, the site yielded a 2,000-year-old mummy — with a golden tongue.

According to LiveScience, the temples at Taposiris Magna were built to honor the god of the underworld Osiris and his wife Isis. It was among this expansive plot of land in western Alexandria where an international research team uncovered 16 ancient burials brimming with invaluable relics, including the golden tongued-mummy.

Statues Found At Taposiris Magna

TwitterThese busts, which were found in the same excavation that yielded the gold tongue, were dated back to the Greek and Roman eras of classical antiquity.

Experts aren’t clear why this mummy’s tongue was made out of gold, but one theory posits that it was meant to give the dead the ability to speak in the afterlife. Indeed, experts think that perhaps this mummy had a speech impediment and that this gold tongue would give them agency to speak with the god of the dead.

Archaeologists estimate that the gold-tongued mummy either lived during the reign of Ptolemy between 340 B.C. to 30 B.C. or the Roman Empire, which took control of Egypt after Cleopatra died in 30 B.C.

Taposiris Magna Statue

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and AntiquitiesSeveral statues depicting the buried were found in excellent condition.

The other 15 burials contained similarly exciting finds. One mummy was found donning the crown of the Egyptian god Atef, which was also decorated with horns and a cobra at the forehead. This mummy also boasted a necklace depicting a falcon’s head.

Another mummy was found buried with a funerary death mask as well as eight marble masks dated to the Greek and Roman eras of classical antiquity. Two other mummies, meanwhile, were found buried with scrolls that experts are now attempting to decode.

Researchers also found what appeared to be statues depicting the people buried there. These are so well preserved that the individual’s hairstyles and headdresses are still discernible.

Ultimately, experts are still asking who these mummies were and how as well as when, exactly, they died.

Taposiris Magna Death Mask

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and AntiquitiesThis woman’s death mask covered nearly her entire body and left her appearing to be smiling.

The excavation was led by archaeologist Kathleen Martinez, who has been unearthing ancient Egyptian artifacts since 2002.

In addition to this latest haul, Martinez has discovered more than 27 tombs. She believes that Cleopatra was most likely buried in the temple for the goddess of Isis in Taposiris Magna.

Second Taposiris Magna Statue

TwitterThe detailed statues even retained the dead’s hairstyles.

Taposiris Magna was once an important center for worshippers of Osiris and Isis, built with a unique fusion of both Greek and Egyptian architecture that clearly still holds inimitable relics of the past.

As for Cleopatra’s tomb, it seems as though Martinez will simply have to keep on digging.


After learning about archaeologists unearthing an Egyptian mummy with a gold tongue, read about archaeologists believing they’ve found the tomb of Santa Claus. Then, learn about the oldest piece of cheese that was discovered in an Ancient Egyptian tomb.

Marco Margaritoff
Marco Margaritoff is a Staff Writer at All That's Interesting.