Know all about the mummification process in Ancient Egypt

Here you are a video on the mummification process that was followed in Ancient Egypt to prepare the pharaoh for the afterlife.

The Egyptians believed in many different gods that oversaw different parts of life. The also believed that when people died, they would enter the afterlife. This involved travelling through the underworld to get to Osiris, who was the king of the underworld.

Because of this, they thought the body should be in as good condition as possible – they believed that the soul still needed the body in the afterlife. They realised that bodies buried without any covering in the dry, salty sand were better preserved than those buried in closed coffins. From there, they began to dry out the body before it was buried by using a type of salt called natron.

To prepare for the drying stage, the brain would be removed by inserting a hook in the nose, and organs would be taken out of the body and placed in jars. These were called canopic jars, and each one had a different top and a special purpose:

  • The jar for the intestines had a falcon head, and was called Qebehsenuf.
  • The jar for the stomach had the head of a desert dog, and was called Duamutef.
  • The jar for the liver had the head of an ape, and was called Hapy.
  • The jar for the lungs had a human head, and was called Imsety.

It took 40 days to dry out the body using natron. Then, it would be wrapped in lots and lots of linen strips, using resin to hold the strips in place. Sometimes a mummy mask would be placed on the head, over the linen wrappings, and then the mummy would be put inside a wooden coffin, and maybe even a stone one as well (an Egyptian coffin is also called a sarcophagus).

The coffin was painted in bright colours, with hieroglyphics on it that were meant to help the person in the afterlife. The underworld could be a dangerous place, with many obstacles that would stop you from reaching Osiris. Because of this, people were buried with specially written spells to help them combat some of these things. Mummies also had amulets – good luck charms – to protect them on their journey.

Mummies were buried with scrolls called the Book of the Dead, which explained how to go through the underworld and what spells and chants to use. The Book of the Dead was sometimes written on tomb walls too, and some scrolls had pictures. Scribes would write copies of the Book of the Dead on papyrus.

The Egyptians believed that you’d need food, money, tools and even slaves in the afterlife, so many treasures and sculptures were left in tombs. Tomb robbing was common, so sometimes pyramids would be built with false entrances to keep the real entrance hidden.

To sum up, Egyptians believed in life after death, and that death was just a transition from one life to another. They believed that they had to preserve their bodies so they could lead a new life. They would need all the things they had used when they were alive so their family would put those things in their grave. Egyptians paid vast amounts of money to have their bodies properly preserved. It took a very long time from start to finish.

As a whole, it took them 70 days to embalm a body. Canonical jars were used by Egyptians to hold the internal organs. It was very important to Egyptian religion that the human body was preserved. Anubis was a god of mummification, he had a human body and a head of a jackal. His job was to prepare the body of the dead to be received by Osiris, the god of the dead. Osiris will then let the souls on and into the underworld.

Also, if you are interested, in this link you will find a paid resource I have designed to learn about the mummification process in Ancient Egypt, once you have watched this video.

Related sites to find out more

Begin this online jigsaw puzzle of the pyramids to get familiar with this construction.

Write your name and secret messages using this interactive hieroglyphic typewriter and learn about how Egyptians used hieroglyphics.

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