Mummies

It is simply incredible the lengths that the Ancient Egyptians went through to in order to make sure that they will be secure in the Afterlife. The first thing that comes to everybody’s mind is MUMMIES! (alright, maybe it’s the second, the pyramids in Giza are most likely the first thing that people think about when asked of the Ancient Egyptians.)

The first known Egyptian mummy ever found is Ginger, so named because of the colour of his hair. Ginger was the first of six mummies that were found by Wallis E. Budge back in the late 1890s, and is considered the first Egyptian mummy (from the Predynastic Period, c. 3500 B.C.). It is unknown whether or not Ginger was the result of a natural process or whether he was intended that he should be mummified. It is very likely that because the Egyptian desert climate was good for creating mummies without the ‘special treatment’ that the Egyptians happened on a poor sod that had been buried in a shallow grave (and who succeeded in not getting eaten by scavengers) and conceived the idea that the only way to insure their place beside Ra is to preserve their earthly bodies. From here came the myth of Isis mummifying Osiris after his death so he would be whole to rule in the Underworld.

Ginger

The mummifying process could take up to seventy days. The first step was to break the naval and, with a poker, the embalmer would take out the brain (well, some of the brain…) because it was believed that the brain was the least important organ (they must have been surprised when they reached the Afterlife that they needed the brian after all!. The next step involved taking out all the inner organs and placing them and the body in natron to dry. Then the organs were wrapped in linen and placed into four canopic jars that were then placed into a canopic chest. The body itself was then wrapped in yards of linen. With each new layer of linen small pendants were inserted to insure that the dead will pass the many tests that it had to go through in order to reach the ‘Field of Reeds’.

The mummy is now ready for burial.

Scan of a 3000 year old mummy

Egyptian Coffin from the 21st Dynasty

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