Mummies and Embalming by Marco B.

January 17, 1997

In Ancient Egypt when a person died his body was embalmed and made into a mummy. The ancient Egyptians believed that a personís spirit and soul continued to live after death and that it returned to its tomb to visit. For this reason it was very important to save the body in as good shape as possible.

Mummies have been known to last for thousand of years.

Poor Egyptians did not have fancy burials and mummification like the noblemen and kings and queens. It took about seventy days to make the mummy. First they took out the inner organ, like the brain, the liver, the intestines, and the lungs. These were embalmed and put into canopic jars. For a while the heart was left in its place. Much later, it was taken out and a scarab was put in its place.

Natron was used to embalm everything. Even small bundles of rags sere soaked in natron and stuffed into the body. The outside of the body was alson covered with natron. The eyes sere stuffed linen cloth and closed. Beeswax was put into the nose. The arms were crossed and nails were painted in gold. All king of jewels were put on the mummy. Then it was carefully wrapped in strips of linen. Twenty layers of linen strips were used.

The head of the mummy was covered with a mask that looked like the personís face. Then the mask was wrapped and the entire mummy was coated with resin. Finally the mummy was placed in a series of coffins and painted with all king of gods, goddesses, and magic spells. This was put in a stone sarcophagus and painted with all kinds of scenes about the personís new life.

Today X-rays are used for studying mummies and doing autopsies. Because of this, we have been able to learn a lot about this area in Ancient Egypt.