On the curator’s desk this morning—an infestation of scarab beetles! The ancient Egyptians, who were careful observers of nature, noticed that the dung beetle (scarabaeus sacer) pushes a round ball of dung across the desert sand. This reminded the Egyptians of the scarab-shaped god Khepri, who rolled the sun before him each morning, causing it to be reborn in the eastern horizon.
Each of these steatite scarabs were drilled with a hole for stringing. Scarabs were often placed in tombs on necklaces as magical amulets, symbolizing rebirth into a new life.