A long hook was inserted up the nose into the cranium and swirled around to liquefy the brain, which would then be poured out into a bowl.
Next, the internal organs were removed through an incision, usually made in the left-hand side of the abdomen. But the heart, believed to be the center of wisdom, was deliberately left in place. Spells 27, 28, and 29 in the collection of mortuary texts known now as the Book of the Dead state the importance of keeping this organ connected to the body. Dehydration was essential to the embalming process. The material used was solid-state natron, a hydrated sodium carbonate often found near salt lakes. In an experiment performed on a corpse in , Egyptologist Bob Brier and Dr. Ronald Wade found that pounds of natron were needed to entirely cover and dry a body.
Various oils and liquid resin were later rubbed into the flesh. This may have helped prevent or delay insect predation and mask the odors of decomposition. The key trait of the mummy is its linen wrappings, often the last step of mummification. This final procedure was carried out with great solemnity, the wrappers taking many days to entirely envelop the body.
The amount of fabric used varied from one mummy to another and, in the case of less well-off clients, belonged to the deceased in their lifetimes. Every single action was defined in minute detail and accompanied by the appropriate spell. Amulets of various kinds were placed inside the folds of the linen to provide greater protection, as well as papyri with magic spells. If the deceased was a member of the elite, the mummy was covered with a mask and placed in a sumptuous casket, which was in turn placed inside a sarcophagus.
When a person died in ancient Egypt, the body was taken to a workshop where a multi-step process would slowly transform it from corpse to mummy—a transition that could take as long as 70 days. The Body Arrives After mourning, the body is taken to one of the mummy workshops, which arose in Egypt from the Middle Kingdom ca B. The brain is discarded, and the lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines are removed.
Storing the Natron Large quantities of natron hydrated sodium carbonate , a natural substance found near salt lakes, are stored in the workshop. Natron rapidly dries out human tissue. Drying Out Following a cleansing of the corpse both inside and outside, its cavities are filled with natron. The body is dried for about 40 days. Jarring the Organs After being dried with natron, the intestines, stomach, liver, and lungs are first wrapped and then placed inside a set of four canopic jars.
Perfuming and Preserving In order to preserve the cadaver, resin is placed in the cranial cavity and the body is stuffed with linen, straw, sawdust, and fragrant oils. Bandaging the Body Wrapped with linen bandages and protected with amulets, the mummy is then beautified with cosmetic treatments. Placing the Final Touches The mummy may be covered with a shroud and funerary mask.
It rests here until burial. Ancient Jews usually had only one name,…. History at your fingertips.
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