The ancient Egyptians developed a sophisticated method to preserve a dead body for the afterlife: mummification. First, the internal organs were removed and all moisture from the body was eliminated.
source/image: Getty Museum
Next, the body was wrapped with long strips of linen, and then covered with a large linen cloth. Follow the steps of the mummification process in this short animation about the Getty Museum’s Romano-Egyptian mummy Herakleides. Watch the video from Getty Museum for more info:
The word mummy comes from the Arabic mummiya, meaning bitumen or coal and every Egyptian, except the most abject criminal, was entitled to be embalmed and receive a decent burial.
The body was taken to the embalmers by the relatives, who then chose the method and quality of mummification. The best and most expensive methods were used on the wealthy, but there were cheaper alternatives for the poor./read more: discoveringegypt
The Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BC, described the different methods:
The Most Costly
- Draw out the brain through the nostrils
- Take out the whole contents of the belly, and clean the interior with palm-wine and spices.
- Fill the belly with pure myrrh, cassia and other spices and sew it together again.
- Cover up in natron for seventy days.
- Wash the corpse and roll it up in fine linen.
- Fill the belly with oil of cedar-wood using a syringe by the breech, which is plugged to stop the drench from returning back; it dissolves the bowels and interior organs.
- After the appointed number of days with the natron treatment the cedar oil is let out and the corpse is left as skin and the bones.
- Returned the corpse the family.
For the Poor
- Cleanse out the belly with a purge.
- Keep the body for seventy days of natron treatment.
- Return the corpse to the family.