About this object

Scarab with flat, uninscribed base, made of schist. It was found encased in a solid mass of resin within the abdominal cavity. 1 of 32 amulets removed from a mummy on the 8th of December 1966 at Aintree University Hospital. The mummy was in a damaged state and its accession history had been lost. The mummy was first X-rayed then cut apart for research purposes.

The ancient Egyptians believed that a person’s heart contained proof of whether they had behaved well or badly in life. No one could claim a life free of sin, but if they were lucky enough to own a heart scarab, they could cheat their way into the Afterlife. The journey through the Afterlife was full of obstacles and challenges. The final hurdle was to be judged at the court of Osiris. Here a person’s heart was removed and weighed by the god Anubis. Wicked people had heavy hearts and were sent to ‘Hell’. A light heart meant an honest life and entry to the Afterlife. Heart scarabs were placed inside the mummy close to the heart. A person’s biggest fear was that their heart would speak out against them during the final judgement. Sometimes a magical spell (Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead) was written on the scarab; it silenced the heart and guaranteed entry into the Afterlife.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion
  • Culture
    Ptolemaic
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    332 BC - 30 BC about
  • Materials
    Schist
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Source currently unrecorded
  • Collector
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1966 before
  • Measurements
    19 mm x 47 mm x 42 mm

Explore related

Publications

  • Egyptian Mummies in the City of Liverpool Museums

    Peter Gray and Dorothy Slow

    Author: Peter Gray and Dorothy Slow
    Publisher: Liverpool Corporation
    Date: 1968
    Description: Results of 1967 X Rays of the mummies in Liverpool Museum (now World Museum).

  • Gifts of The Nile: Ancient Egyptian Arts and Crafts in Liverpool Museum

    Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela

    Author: Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela
    Publisher: Her Majesty's Stationery Office
    Date: 1995
    Description: A 130 page illustrated book that focuses on the Egyptian antiquities in World Museum's collections to provide a colourful introduction to the land and its culture in the Pharaonic period. An appendix explains the history of the collection and includes information about the Lady Lever Art Gallery Egyptian collection, which is also part of National Museums Liverpool.

Object view = Humanities
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