Egyptian Mummification Egyptian Mummification Egyptian embalmers were so skilled that people mummified four thousand years ago still have skin, hair and recognizable features such as scars and tattoos. The word mummy comes from the Arabic mummiya, meaning bitumen or coal and every Egyptian, except the most abject criminal, was entitled to be embalmed and receive a decent burial. The body was taken to the embalmers by the relatives, who then chose the method and quality of mummification.
Print The methods of embalming, or treating the dead body, that the ancient Egyptians used is called mummification. Using special processes, the Egyptians removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay.
It was important in their religion to preserve the dead body in as life-like a manner as possible. So successful were they that today we can view the mummified body of an Egyptian and have a good idea of what he or she looked like in life, years ago.
Mummification was practiced throughout most of early Egyptian history. The earliest mummies from prehistoric times probably were accidental. By chance, dry sand and air since Egypt has almost no measurable rainfall preserved some bodies buried in shallow pits dug into the sand.
The practice continued and developed for well over 2, years, into the Roman Period ca. Within any one period the quality of the mummification varied, depending on the price paid for it.
The best prepared and preserved mummies are from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Dynasties of the New Kingdom ca. It is the general process of this period that shall be described here. Process The mummification process took seventy days. Special priests worked as embalmers, treating and wrapping the body.
Beyond knowing the correct rituals and prayers to be performed at various stages, the priests also needed a detailed knowledge of human anatomy. The first step in the process was the removal of all internal parts that might decay rapidly. The brain was removed by carefully inserting special hooked instruments up through the nostrils in order to pull out bits of brain tissue.
It was a delicate operation, one which could easily disfigure the face. The embalmers then removed the organs of the abdomen and chest through a cut usually made on the left side of the abdomen.
They left only the heart in place, believing it to be the center of a person's being and intelligence.
The other organs were preserved separately, with the stomach, liver, lungs, and intestines placed in special boxes or jars today called canopic jars. These were buried with the mummy.
In later mummies, the organs were treated, wrapped, and replaced within the body. Even so, unused canopic jars continued to be part of the burial ritual. The embalmers next removed all moisture from the body.
This they did by covering the body with natron, a type of salt which has great drying properties, and by placing additional natron packets inside the body.
When the body had dried out completely, embalmers removed the internal packets and lightly washed the natron off the body. The result was a very dried-out but recognizable human form. To make the mummy seem even more life-like, sunken areas of the body were filled out with linen and other materials and false eyes were added.
Next the wrapping began.A Look at These Mummification Steps Will Make Your Skin Crawl Of the various facets of the fascinating history of ancient Egypt, the creation of mummies is by far the most interesting.
As you go through this information on the steps of mummification, you will get a rough idea about the process involved. Ancient Egypt: mummification Before your visit Background information The preservation of the body was an essential part of ancient Egyptian funerary belief and.
By mummifying part of a fresh human corpse, scientists have gained an unprecedented look at the process of how the ancient Egyptians prepared their dead for the afterlife. It was very important to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs that the human body was preserved.
A method of artificial preservation, called mummification was developed by the ancient Egyptians. Interestingly, the earliest examples of mummification in ancient Egypt were completely accidental. Because of Egypt's arid desert environment, the bodies of Predynastic or Early Dynastic Egyptians would often be unintentionally preserved, their shallow pit graves allowing the corpses to be dried out and preserved by the dry, sandy climate.
Mummification in Ancient Egypt. The Mummification Process.
Ancient writers, modern scientists, and the mummies themselves all help us better understand the Egyptian mummification process and the culture in which it existed. A Look at These Mummification Steps Will Make Your Skin Crawl Of the various facets of the fascinating history of ancient Egypt, the creation of mummies is by far the most interesting. As you go through this information on the steps of mummification, you will get a rough idea about the process involved. By mummifying part of a fresh human corpse, scientists have gained an unprecedented look at the process of how the ancient Egyptians prepared their dead for the afterlife.
It would seem, however, that people still chose the level of service they could most easily afford. Once chosen, that level determined the kind of coffin one would be buried in, the funerary rites available, and the treatment of the body.