Vulture Necklace

belonging to Tutankhamun

The Vulture Necklace belonged to Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh. It was found in his tomb, along with hundreds of other pieces of jewellery. It was placed between the 11th and 12th layers of linen wrapped around his mummy. This tells us he probably wore the necklace in his lifetime.

Vultures were used a lot in Egyptian jewellery, and in wall paintings. Princesses and queens wore vulture headdresses. You can see this in the painting of Queen Nefertari to the right.


Nekhbet, the vulture goddess

The goddess Nekhbet was shown as a Griffon vulture. This species of vulture is still seen in Upper (southern) Egypt, and Nekhbet came to stand for Upper Egypt. The cobra goddess, Wadjyt, stood for Lower Egypt. These two goddesses protected the king, and they appear next to each other in Tutankhamun's uraeus (see above).

What is the vulture made of?

The pendant was made of solid gold, inlaid with blue lapis lazuli, red carnelian, and little bits of blue and green glass. The eye is made of obsidian. The chain was made of rectangles of gold and lapis lazuli.


What is the vulture holding?

In its talons the vulture is holding symbols called shen. These stood for encirclement, or infinity, or eternity. They help to ensure the king will live forever (in the afterlife)

Click here for more information on Tutankhamun.



Back to artefacts