Ancient Egyptians, and other ancient peoples believed, either literally or symbolically, that worldly goods were transported with the deceased into the spirit world.
Sometimes material possessions such as coins, food, and pottery were used to appease the spirits beyond; sometimes, as in the Chinese culture, they were used to aid the departed in the afterlife.
In the afterlife mythology of the ancient Greeks, dead souls had to joumey over the River Styx to meet Hades, the god of death.
The ferryman, Charon, who would carry the dead in his boat, waited for new passengers by the riverbanks.
If the departed had been administered burial rites and had a coin placed under their tongue, Charon would steer them on his ferry to the gates of the underworld to find Hades.
If one or both of these things had not happened, the deceased was doomed to wait beside the River Styx for 100 years.