About this object

Scarab with some gilt on the surface. Well carved but with front of the plain underside missing. Marked in pencil XXth 151.

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
    New Kingdom
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Esna
  • Date made
    1186 BC - 1069 BC about
  • Materials
    Stone
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the General Committee of the Institute of Archaeology, The University of Liverpool
  • Collector
    Liverpool University Institute of Archaeology
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Esna
  • Date collected
    1905
  • Measurements
    40 mm x 30 mm x 21 mm
  • Related people

Explore related

Publications

Events

  • Liverpool Excavations at Esna 1905-1906

    Start date: 1905
    End date: 1905
    Description: Excavations directed by John Garstang of the University of Liverpool Institute of Archaeology on behalf of the Egyptian Excavations Committee and the Institute of Archaeology during 1905 - 1906. The cemetery is near 'Hagar Esna' about 4 km to the north west of Esna town, on the west bank of the Nile. Garstang inspected the site in 1904 and was convinced that it was important and unless excavation was undertaken as soon as possible very little would survive the systematic plundering which was flourishing at that time. The first season of work lasted from March to early May 1905 and was conducted by Garstang's assistant, Harold Jones, while Garstang was busy at the site of Hierakonpolis and at Dakke. A second season began in January 1906 and continued for 5 weeks working with 100 Egyptian workmen. again the work was mainly directed by Jones, while Garstang continued his work in Nubia, at Dakke and Koshtamneh. After leaving Esna Garstang and Jones moved on to concentrate on the excavation at Abydos. The Garstang Museum of Archaeology (Liverpool University) hold 110 glass negatives, antiquities and field notes from the excavations. BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Garstang, 'Excavations at Hierakonpolis, at Esna and in Nubia'. Annales du Service des Antiquities de l’Egypte 8 (1907) pp. 132-148. Dorothy Downes, The excavations at Esna, 1905-1906. (Warminster, 1974).

Object view = Humanities
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