Mummification Facts

Mummification Facts
Mummification is the process of preserving a human or an animal's body after they have died, which can be intentional or unintentional if a body is exposed to the right conditions to stop it from decaying. The Ancient Egyptians are most well-known for their mummification process, a burial practice based on their belief in the afterlife and the need to have one's body preserved for the next world. The mummification process could take up to 70 days to complete. Mummification was an expensive process and only the wealthy Egyptians could afford to have their bodies mummified after they died. Poor Egyptians were buried in the sand.
Interesting Mummification Facts:
Mummification practices in Egypt began in 2400B.C.
Before the Egyptians began to mummify their rich and royal citizens, people were buried differently. They were placed in the fetal position in a pit, often with personal items around them. The hot sand would dehydrate the body and preserve it.
The process of mummification was a long one with many steps. These steps included 1) wash and purify body; 2) remove organs and dry them, organs were either put in jars or back in the body, but the heart was placed in the body not in a jar; 3) rinse body clean with wine and spices; 4) fill the body with stuffing; 5) cover the body with natron salt; 6) after about 40 or 50 days the body is re-stuffed with linen, wrapped in a shroud, and placed in a stone coffin.
The stone coffin used for mummification is called a sarcophagus.
The jars that were used to hold the body's organs were called canopic jars.
Some Egyptian kings were buried inside pyramids. These kings were called Pharaohs. There are approximately 50 royal pyramids in existence today.
Common materials used during the mummification process included linen, sawdust, lichen, beeswax, frankincense, Nile mud, natron, and onions.
Common tools used during the mummification process included oil jars, embalming tools, and brain hooks.
Brain hooks were used to remove the brain through the nostril, after the person had died. It was necessary to remove the brain to preserve the body.
People were not the only living things to be mummified. Many animals have been found in mummified form as well including cats, bulls, hawks, and snakes.
Mummies have been found in other regions of the world outside of Egypt, dating back thousands of years. Mummies have been discovered in Libya, South Africa, Asia, China, Iran, Siberia, Philippines, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Canada, Greenland, Mexico, the United States, Australia, Torres Strait, New Zealand, South America and the Canary Islands.
Some of the most famous mummies discovered to date include Otzi the Iceman (a natural mummy from 3300 B.C. found in the Otzal Alps), Ginger (the earliest ancient Egyptian naturally mummified body), King Tutankhamun (ancient Egyptian pharaoh whose tomb was found in 1922 by Howard Carter), and Lady Dai (Xin Zhui), who was the wife of the Han Dynasty Marquis. She died in 178 to 145 BC.
Xin Zhui is the most perfectly preserved body to be found. Scientists can't figure out why she was so perfectly preserved. She was wrapped in 22 dresses of silk and hemp. Her last meal was still in her stomach.


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