Scarab

1967.60ee

On display

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.