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. Mummification was a complicated and lengthy process which lasted up to 70 days.
What are mummies?
A mummy is the body of a person (or an animal) that has been preserved after death.
Who were the mummies?
They were any Egyptian who could afford to pay for the expensive process of preserving their bodies for the afterlife.
Why did the Egyptians make mummies?
The Egyptians believed in life after death. They believed that they had to preserve their bodies so they could use them in the afterlife.
What is the afterlife?
The Egyptians believed that when they died, they would make a journey to another world where they would lead a new life. They would need all the things they had used when they were alive, so their families would put those things in their graves. Egyptians paid vast amounts of money to have their bodies properly preserved. Egyptians who were poor were buried in the sand whilst the rich ones were buried in a tomb.
What was the name of the process the Egyptians used to preserve their bodies?
It was called mummification.
How were mummies made?
It took a very long time, from start to finish, it took about 70 days to embalm a body. The priest in charge would wear the mask of a jackal representing the god Anubis.
1. The body was washed and purified.
2. Organs were removed. Only the heart remained.
3. The body was filled with stuffing.
4. The body was dried by covering it with a substance called natron*. This substance absorbed all the moisture from the body.
5. After 40 - 50 days the stuffing was removed and replaced with linen or sawdust.
6. The body was wrapped in
strands of linen and covered in a sheet called a shroud.
7. The body was placed in a stone coffin called a sarcophagus.
The mummy was now ready for its journey to the afterlife.
* What is natron?
Natron is a natural salt, composed of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate with traces of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. It was used by the ancient egyptians to dry out the bodies.
Why did they leave the heart in the body?
The Egyptians thought the heart was the centre of intelligence and emotion.
Who was the god of mummification?
Anubis was the god of mummification. He had a human body and the head of a jackal. His job was to prepare the bodies of the dead to be received by Osiris.
What objects did they put in Egyptian Tombs?
Ancient Egyptians were buried with their belongings and the tomb walls were painted with scenes from the dead persons life. The objects included furniture, games and even food was placed in the tombs for the long After Life journey!
What are canopic jars?
Canopic Jars were used by ancient Egyptians to hold mummified remains.
Where were Egyptians who were poor buried?
The poor Egyptians were buried in the sand. Only the rich ones were buried in a tomb
Where were the pharaohs buried?
In the Old and Middle Kingdoms (2628-1638 BC), Egyptian kings were buried in pyramids. About 50 royal pyramids have survived. They were built on the desert edge, west of the ancient capital of Memphis.
What are pyramids?
The pyramids are the stone tombs of Egypt's kings - the Pharaohs.
The Egyptians believed that if the pharaoh's body could be mummified after death the pharaoh would live forever. The tombs were designed to protect the buried Pharaoh's body and his belongings.
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