Group of Egyptian amulets, 4000-30 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An amulet is a personal ornament which, because of its shape, material, or colour, is believed to endow its wearer with certain powers and offer protection. The Ancient Egyptians often used amulets to protect themselves against disease. At far left is the girdle or knot of Isis (Thet/Tyet). The goddes Isis protected the dead with a Carnelian stone amulet named Thet, or Tyet. After being soaked in Ankhami flower water and placed on the body of the deceased, Isis would grant the person protection from harm while moving through the afterlife. At bottom right is the backbone (Djed), asociated with the gods Ptah and Osiris. The Djed pillar was a common amulet believed to represent stability and durability and was used to protect the dead in the afterlife.