Ancient Egyptian Mummies

One of the ways to make it into the afterlife was that your body had to be preserved.  One that was not preserved had no way to go to the afterlife because their body was no longer there to go.  There were steps to making sure that a body was preserved for the afterlife.

Ceremony:  The ceremony or the “Ibu” was the place of purification.  This took place with four priests, one being dressed as Anubis.  During this time, the body is washed with oil and rinsed with water that is taken from the Nile River.  The priest prays over the body during this time.

Organ Removal:  The organs are then removed from the body, washed, and they are wrapped and put in canopic jars. All of the organs are removed except for the heart and the heart is never removed but it is wrapped while it is still in the body.

Natron’s:  The body is then covered and stuffed with natron, a linen cloth, and it is also used to pack the organs.  This natron is used to help dry the body out so that it is ready for the afterlife.

40 Days:  The body is covered and placed on a tilted wooden slab.  This helps to dry out the body and to get rid of the body fluids.  The body stays like this for forty days.

Make-up:  After the body is dried, the packing is removed, the organs are wrapped and returned to the body, the body is rubbed with oils and resins, the nostrils are stuffed with wax, pads are put under the eyes and then make-up is applied to the body.  Linen is started around the body for mummification purposes.

Decorate:  The body is then decorated with good luck charms.  These charms and jewelry are put in the layers of the linen in order to give the body good luck into the afterlife.  Ankhs are used which are called “symbols of life,” and are jewelry like charms that are put in the linens.

Mask:  A mask is put on the body’s face.  The mask is used so that the Ba and Ka can recognize the body.  The mask is made to be as lifelike as possible and as close to the image of the person as possible.  The mask is important to help locate the body, just like the nametag is important.

Sarcophagus:  The body is then put into the coffin and the cartouche, or nameplate is attached to the coffin.  The nameplate helps the Ba and Ka know where to return after returning to the afterlife.

Procession:  The family and friends go with the priest to take the body to its resting place.  This is where the body will be put into the tomb.

Mourners:  People cry and follow the priest while he prays by the tomb door.

Tomb:  The tomb is then locked and sealed by the priest and the body descends to its final judgement of the afterlife.

The Egyptians believe that the body must be preserved in order to make it to the afterlife and so they follow all of these steps to make sure that their family or friend is taken care of for the afterlife.

It is important that grave robbers do not destroy the body that is in the tombs or the person will have no way of getting to the afterlife paradise.

The body is preserved so that it can look as closely as it did on earth when it enters into the afterlife.

Egyptian Mummies Facts for Kids:

  • Treating the dead body is called mummification.
  • The Egyptians remove all of the moisture from the body so that it does not decay.
  • The mummification process takes 70 days total.
  • Special priests take care of the body and do all of the embalming and wrapping of the body.
  • There are certain rituals that take place during mummification.
  • When the brain is removed, it was pulled out of the nose.  This job was hard because the priest could accidently crush the face.
  • Organs were removed from the left side of the abdomen.
  • The heart is not removed because it is believed to be the center of the persons being and intelligence.
  • When the organs were put into canopic jars, these were buried with the person.
  • Natron was a type of salt that helped to dry out the body.
  • If the body had any sunken parts, the body was filled with linen to make it look more natural.

Q and A

  • Q: What was treating the dead body called?
    A: Treating the dead body was called mummification.
  • Q: How many days did mummification take?
    A: Mummification took 70 days.
  • Q: What was put on the body during purification?
    A: Oils were put on the body during purification and when it was time for the make-up to be applied.
  • Q: What is natron?
    A: Natron is a type of salt that helped to dry the body.
  • Q: Why was the heart not removed?
    A: The heart was not removed because it was considered to be the persons being and intelligence.
  • Q: Where were some organs stored?
    A: Some organs were stored in canopic jars.