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Egyptian Mummification

Egyptian Mummification

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Egyptian Mummification

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  1. Egyptian Mummification

  2. What is a mummy? A corpse whose shin have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to extreme cold, chemicals, low humidity and airlessness.


  4. Purpose of Egyptian Mummification The ancient Egyptians believed that after death their bodies would travel to another world during the day, and at night they would return to their bodies.

  5. In order for the person’s spirit to live forever, it had to be able to recognize and return to the body. If a spirit could not recognize the body it belonged to, it would die. This is why the Egyptians wanted to preserve the bodies of the dead in as lifelike a state as possible. Mummification guaranteed eternal life for the spirit.

  6. The Mummification Process The entire process took 70 days to complete. Several embalmers conducted the task in the special embalming shop or per nefer. The chief embalmer was known as the hery sheshta. He wore a jackal mask to represent Anubis, the god of mummification.

  7. After the body had been shaved and washed with wine and spices, all of the parts that might decay were removed. The embalmers first removed the brain through the nose using a long hook.

  8. The long hook was used to stir up the brain until it was liquefied. Then the embalmers would turn the body face down to allow the brain to ooze out the nostrils. The Egyptians were so rough on the brain because they didn’t realize its importance. They thought its sole purpose was to produce snot!

  9. Next they would remove the soft, moist body parts that would cause decay. A deep incision was made in the left side of the abdomen to remove the internal organs: the lungs, the stomach, the liver and the intestines.

  10. In some cases they removed the heart, but in others they left it, because it was considered to be the seat of the soul that testified on behalf of the deceased during judgment before the gods.

  11. The body was stuffed with bundles of strong drying salt called natron. Natron is a naturally occurring dessicant – something that has high affinity for water and can be used as a drying agent.

  12. It was then completely covered with natron and placed on a slanted couch so that any fluids that dripped out as the body was drying could be collected and buried along with it.

  13. While the body was drying, the internal organs were also dried and preserved with natron. They were then wrapped in strips of linen and put into separate containers called canopic jars. The Egyptians believed that all body parts would be magically reunited in the afterlife and the body would become whole again, just like the god Osiris.

  14. Natron Information • Found in the salt lakes near the Nile • Acts as a drying agent • Can be used in • Glass and ceramics • Binds precious metals together • Can be used with oils as soap, toothpaste or mouth wash • Gives pretzels their brown colour

  15. After 40 days, the body was completely dried. The skin became shrunken, wrinkled, and leathery. The bundles of natron were removed from the body cavity. The mummy was cleaned one more time and rubbed with sacred oils to soften the skin.

  16. The mummy’s head and body were packed with herbs, sawdust, and linen soaked in scented oil so that they could regain the shape they had in life. Stones or small onions were placed under the eyelids to restore a lifelike appearance. Once this was done, the mummy could be covered with necklaces, rings and bracelets made of gold and gems.

  17. The entire body was then covered in shrouds and bound with strips of linen until the mummy had returned to its original size. This was a complicated job and could take as long as a week.

  18. Modern methods of preservation: Plastination • Invented in 1978 • Fluids in the body are replaced with plastics • The mummy doesn’t smell, can be touched and does not decay

  19. Modern methods of preservation: Drying • Foods can be dehydrated by air drying or freeze drying • Eg. Dried mushrooms, camping meals, beef jerky, sultanas

  20. Modern methods of preservation: Curing/ Smoking • Adding a combination of salt, sugar or smoking can make meats last much longer

  21. Modern methods of preservation: Crystallizing • Sugar can be used to dry fruits to the point of crystalisation. After this they can be stored dry

  22. Modern methods of preservation: Pickling • Food is placed in an edible liquid that inhibits the formation of bacteria

  23. Modern methods of preservation: Artificial Preservatives • Nowadays there are many artificial preservatives used in foods to give them a longer shelf life in the shops

  24. The End