The Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis is the ultimate resting place for some of Egypt’s most gorgeous and well-preserved mummies.
The Valley of the Golden Mummies
Over 200 mummies have already been unearthed in the Valley of the Golden Mummies. The discovered mummies come in a range of sizes and styles, with some elaborately gilded from head to breast.
The Valley of the Golden Mummies was found by chance, thanks to the donkey of the Temple of Alexander the Great’s guard. On the guard’s return from his shift, he altered his path. His donkey’s feet fell into a hole on the way, so the guard went down to examine it. When he glanced down into the hole, he discovered a smiling golden mummy statue. From here, the Valley of the Golden Mummies was discovered.
The splendor of gold shimmered in the sunshine among the sand heaps when the first tomb was unlocked. There was a mummy of a lady in the first tomb, and her mask and clothing were gold-plated.
The site is around 6 square kilometres in size and is thought to contain about 10.000 mummies, which is the highest number found at a single site in Egypt. Because of its closeness to the Temple of Alexander the Great, it is probable that people used it as a burial ground throughout the Graeco-Roman period.
Each mummy is unique; some are painted scenes on simple cartonnage, while others are coated in gold. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all smiling. A very sweet couple slept in one corner: a woman laying near her husband, her head tenderly bent toward him. The husband appears to have died before the woman.
The mummies in Bahariya appear to be divided into four categories. About 60 mummies were discovered with a golden mask covering their faces and a gilded waistcoat adorned with depictions of gods and goddesses covering their chests. As a result, the valley is known as the “Valley of the Golden Mummies.” The second type of mummy is covered with cartonnage depicting scenes of numerous gods, such as Anubis, the deity of mummification, and the four sons of Horus.
The third style of mummy was not embellished with gold or cartonnage. It was placed within a clay coffin. The final form of the mummy was completely covered in linen. This type of mummy is the most intriguing since it reminds us of mummies from the New Kingdom.
The decorative scenes on the mummies’ waistcoats frequently depict a shortened version of the Judgment of the Dead. The deity Osiris sits on his throne in these scenes, while the god Anubis balances the deceased’s heart against the feather of Maat. Thoth observes and notes the weighing process’s results and relays the findings to Osiris.
Many items were discovered in the tombs beside the mummies. There was a variety of earrings, necklaces, and amulets, as well as pottery in a range of uses and forms, ranging from food trays to wine jugs. There were also several Ptolemaic coins, the most interesting of which depicted Cleopatra VII. Evidently, Roman Bahariya was a prosperous hamlet. Consider that many of its members could afford to lavishly decorate burials with gold and cartonage. There were also the remnants of an ancient vineyard discovered near the Valley of the Mummies, and a big statue of Bes, the god of wine and pleasure in the oasis, was unearthed among the mummies.
In the Valley of the Golden Mummies, there were also sculptures of grieving ladies, their hands perpetually upraised in a pose of painful sadness for the death of their loved ones.
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