Mummification is a process used by ancient Egyptians to preserve the dead. It was believed that when a person died, elements of his soul would gradually perish. Mummification was used to attempt to prevent this from happening. The process consists of removing parts of the body, then drying the body out before washing it thoroughly. This removal of bacteria prevented the body from decaying so quickly. Numerous tools were used to aid this burial process.
Palm wine was used at the beginning of the mummification process. The body was washed with water from the Nile with the addition of the palm wine, which helped prevent the body from decaying.
A hook device was used to remove the brain. The hook was inserted into the nostril to puncture the brain and allow the brain fluid to drain from the skull.
Balsam Sap and Pistacia Tree Resin
Balsam sap and pistacia tree resin were then poured into the brain and allowed to solidify to restrengthen the skull and prevent it from collapsing.
Organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, intestines and stomach were removed from the body and stored in containers called canoptic jars. Canoptic jars were usually made out of limestone or pottery.
The areas of the body from which parts were removed from were filled with small bags of natron to restrengthen the body and replicate its original form. Natron was made up of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate, which prevented rotting and decay of the corpse. These small bags soaked up moisture and dried out the corpse. These sacks were then removed.
Oils, Herbs, Fragrrances and Spices
The corpse was then covered in oil, herbs, fragrances and spices. Straw was placed within the body to soak up these elements.
Linen and Resin
Finally, the corpse was wrapped in layers of linen that was coated in resin to complete the mummification process.
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