"a scarab beetle was scuttling through the sand"
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Scarab Beetle Hieroglyph
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeScarab Beetle Hieroglyph - Credit: Guillaume Blanchard
 The scarab beetle was considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.  A species of dung beetle, Scarabaeus sacer pushes a large ball of compacted excrement ahead of it, which the Egyptians viewed as symbolic of the sun: the god Khepri was said to roll the sun across the sky.  Bizarrely, they believed only male scarab beetles existed, spontaneously emerging from dung balls - a belief that led to alchemical ideas of self-creation and resurrection.


Scarab Image, Luxor
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeScarab Image, Luxor - Credit: Hajor
Scarab amulets, usually carved from green stone, were placed on the chests of the deceased.  This "heart scarab" was supposed to prevent the heart from testifying against the deceased in the afterlife.