The golden amulets were placed in the mouths of the dead “to ensure they could speak in the afterlife,” according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The search for Cleopatra, however, continues.

Excavation workers near Alexandria, in northern Egypt, have discovered 2,000-year-old mummies with golden tongues placed in their mouths, authorities said Wednesday.

“The mission discovered 16 tombs cut into the rock… in the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria,” the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement reported by AFP. The authority said this burial technique was commonplace during both the Greek and Roman periods.

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed ancient mummies with gold foil amulets inside their mouths.

King of ancient Greece Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 B.C.. After Alexander’s death, control passed to the Greek Ptolemy dynasty but in 30 B.C. they succumbed to the Romans, who ruled for more than six centuries.

Golden tongues

The tombs contained several mummies that were “poorly preserved” but bore “gold-leafed amulets in the shape of a tongue,” the ministry’s statement said. The amulets were placed in the mouths of the deceased “to ensure they could speak in the afterlife” to Osiris, the Egyptian god of death and the underworld.

Mission chief Kathleen Martinez highlighted two mummies of particular interest to the team.

One had “bandages and parts of cardboard — layers of glued, stuccoed and painted linen fabric that enveloped the mummy — decorated with gilding with the effigy of Osiris.”

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