To the Egyptians the dung beetle, the scarab, was an animal in which new, everlasting life reveals itself, for they thought that the young beetles were spontaneously generated in the little ball of dung the adult animal rolls along. This amulet is in the shape of the holy dung beetle. The beetle’s back is inscribed with the name of Djehuty. He was a general in the service of Pharaoh Thutmosis III and governor of the Palestine dominions.
On the flat belly-side we find 11 lines of text from the Book of the Dead, in which the deceased is speaking to his own heart: ‘Do not rise against me as a witness, do not oppose me before the court of justice!’ In this way he hopes to obtain a favourable ‘last judgment’ from the divine court of justice, when the latter is investigating whether his heart is free from sin.
The scarab is set in gold, and was attached to Djehuty’s mummy with a necklace of braided gold thread. This precious piece is proof of Djehuty’s high position in Egyptian society.