The ancient Egyptians believed that when someone died, their soul left their body. The soul would then return and be reunited with the body after it was buried.
Over many centuries, the ancient Egyptians developed a method of preserving bodies so they would remain lifelike. The process included embalming the bodies and wrapping them in strips of linen. Today we call this process mummification. Mummification was mainly done to the wealthy people as poorer people could not afford the process.
The chief embalmer (a person who treats dead bodies with preservatives to keep them looking lifelike) was a priest wearing a mask of Anubis. Anubis was the jackal headed god of the dead. He was closely associated with mummification and embalming, hence why priest wore a mask of Anubis.
|Priest wearing a mask of Anubis during Mummification|
Step by Step process of Mummification:
1. First, the body is taken to the tent known as 'ibu' or the 'place of purification'. There the embalmers wash the body with wine and spices and rinse it with water from the Nile.
2. They cut in the left side of the body near the tummy and remove many of the internal organs. It is important to remove these because they are the first part of the body to decompose. (A hook is use to pull the brain out from the nose. The liver, lungs, stomach and intestines are washed and packed in natron (salt) which will dry them out and then they were placed in hollow canopic jars. The heart is taken out, washed and place back into the body because it is the center of intelligence and feeling and man will need it in the afterlife.)
3. The body is now covered and stuffed with natron which will dry it out.
4. After forty days the body is washed again with water from the Nile. Then it is covered with oils to help the skin stay elastic.
5. The body is stuffed with dry materials such as sawdust, sand, leaves and linen so that it looks lifelike.
6. Finally the body is covered again with good-smelling oils. It is now ready to be wrapped in linen.
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