2015/10/21

Mummification steps


The earliest  ancient Egyptians  buried their dead  in small pits in  the desert. The  heat and dryness  of the sand  dehydrated the  bodies quickly,  creating lifelike  and natural  'mummies'. 
 





 Later, the ancient Egyptians began  burying their dead in coffins to  protect them from wild animals in the  desert. However, they realized that  bodies placed in coffins decayed  when they were not exposed to the  hot, dry sand of the desert.   Over many centuries, the ancient  Egyptians developed a method of  preserving bodies so they would  remain lifelike. The process included  embalming the bodies and wrapping  them in strips of linen. Today we call  this process mummification. 



Embalming the Body  

First, his body  is taken to the  tent known as  "ibu" or the  "place of  purification."  There the  embalmers  wash his body  with good- smelling palm  wine and rinse  it with water  from the Nile.

 One of the embalmer's men  makes a cut in the left side  of the body and removes  many of the internal organs.  It is important to remove  these because they are the  first part of the body to  decompose. The liver, lungs, stomach  and intestines are washed  and packed in natron which  will dry them out. The heart  is not taken out of the body  because it is the centre of  intelligence and feeling and  the man will need it in the  afterlife.  A long hook is used to  smash the brain and pull it  out through the nose.

 In the past, when the  internal organs were  removed from a body they  were placed in hollow  canopic jars. Over many years the  embalming practices  changed and embalmers  began returning internal  organs to bodies after the  organs had been dried in  natron. However, solid  wood or stone canopic jars  were still buried with the  mummy to symbolically  protect the internal organs.

  The body is now  covered and stuffed  with natron which will  dry it out. All of the  fluids, and rags from  the embalming process  will be saved and  buried along with the  body.


 After forty days  the body is  washed again  with water  from the Nile.  Then it is  covered with  oils to help the  skin stay  elastic. 

The dehydrated internal  organs are wrapped in  linen and returned to the  body (if they were not  already placed in canopic  jars). The body is stuffed  with dry materials such as  sawdust, leaves and linen  so that it looks lifelike. Finally the body is covered  again with good-smelling  oils. It is now ready to be  wrapped in linen.

 The body has been cleaned, dried  and rubbed with good-smelling  oils. Now it is ready to be wrapped  in linen. 

Wrapping the Mummy 

 First the head and neck  are wrapped with strips  of fine linen. Then the  fingers and the toes are  individually wrapped. The  arms and legs are  wrapped separately. 

Between the  layers of  wrapping, the  embalmers  place amulets to protect the  body in its  journey  through the  underworld. 

A priest reads spells out  loud while the mummy is  being wrapped. These  spells will help ward off  evil spirits and help the  deceased make the  journey to the afterlife. 
The arms and legs  are tied together. A  papyrus scroll with  spells from the Book  of the Dead is  placed between the  wrapped hands. 
More linen  strips are  wrapped  around the  body. At  every  layer, the  bandages  are painted with liquid  resin that  helps to  glue the  bandages  together. 
A cloth is  wrapped  around  the body  and a  picture of  the god  Osiris is  painted  on its  surface.  The funeral is held for the  deceased and his family  mourns his death. 

Finally, a large  cloth is wrapped  around the entire  mummy. It is  attached with  strips of linen  that run from the  top to the bottom  of the mummy,  and around its  middle. 

A board of  painted wood is  placed on top of  the mummy  before the  mummy is  lowered into its  coffin. The first  coffin is then put  inside a second  coffin.

 A ritual called the 'Opening  of the Mouth' is performed,  allowing the deceased to  eat and drink again. 

Finally, the body and its  coffins are placed inside a  large stone sarcophagus in  the tomb. Furniture,  clothing, valuable objects,  food and drink are  arranged in the tomb for  the deceased.
Mummification Video

 Now his body is ready for  its journey through the  underworld. There his heart  will be judged by his good  deeds on earth. If his heart  is found to be pure he will  be sent to live for all  eternity in the beautiful  'Field of Reeds'.

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