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The Process of Becoming a Mummy

The Mummification ProcessThe Process of Becoming a Mummy

A mummy is a dead body that is preserved in an ancient burial ritual that is done on both humans and animals. The mummified bodies are naturally preserved frozen, wet, or dry. More often, it’s artificially done throughout history, especially by the Egyptians. Mummies have since become popular horror movie characters and Halloween Costumes.

Why and How Mummification Began

The ancients believed that mummification will preserve the body for the afterlife. They feared that if the body decayed, the spirit would wither. Mummification began when ancients discovered naturally mummified bodies in the desert. These bodies weren’t whole, so they artificially mummified their dead to keep the body together.

How Stuff Works - Mummy : The history of mummification

Mummification in Ancient Egypt : The development, and history of mummification

Embalming

The ancient Egyptians first brought the dead to an “ibu” tent, or “place of purification.” The body was cleansed entirely with salt water and embalming fluid.

Britanica - Mummy (Embalming) : Information about embalming a mummy

Removing the Organs

Next, the body was brought to "per nefer," or "house of beauty." Here, the brain was removed by chiseling the bone of the nose. An iron hook was inserted to pull the brain out. Once removed, the brain was washed.

Next, the left side of the body was slit to remove the abdominal organs and the lungs. The heart was kept in the body, which the Egyptians believed was needed for the afterlife. The removed parts were washed, dried, wrapped and stored in jars.

AncientEgypt.co.uk - Mummification : An account of how a body was mummified, with illustrations.

Products Used For Mummification

The products used for mummification were: 1) Natron, a salt mixture applied to the body to eliminate moisture and prevent decay. 2) Palm wine to clean the chest cavity. 3) Sawdust to fill the body cavity. 4) Henna, bitumen, paint and ointments.

Egyptian Mummification Materials : List of materials that were used during the mummification process.

Wrapping Up

The body was left to dry for 40 days, then the sawdust was removed. The linen is soaked with natron, while other materials refill the body cavity. The side is sewn up again, and the body is wrapped with linen three inches wide. Fingers and toes were individually wrapped up. Next came the legs, arms, boy and head. After several layers the linen was coated with hot resin and mummification was complete.

How Stuff Works - Mummification (Drying and Wrapping) : Information on how a mummy was wrapped .

10 Important Mummies : A list of 10 mummies that are valuable to archaeologists.

Famous Egyptian Mummies : Information about the famous mummies from ancient Egypt.

Make your own Mummy Costumes:

Ehow: A step by step tutorial.

How to Make a Mummy Costume

Some improvements have been made to the mummification process during modern times. Today, there are organizations that offer mummification service, but it is not a popular funeral option because of its high cost.