The scarab beetle was an exceedingly popular symbol in the art of Ancient Egypt, thought to represent the sun god, Ra. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung across the desert mirrored the journey of the sun across the sky from day to night. As the beetle laid its eggs within the dung, it became a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.
Obsidian was first used from the Early Dynastic period for amulets and continued to be used for scarabs and amulets. There was no source in Egypt, with the most likely source being Ethiopia and in later times, the Aegean. In Late Period burials it was a stone frequently used for the ‘two fingers’ amulet which was placed on the mummy at the point of incision, from where the deceased’s organs were removed. The use of obsidian would suggest that it symbolised regeneration.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.