The ancient Egyptians are famous for making mummies. But it took them centuries to figure out the best ways to preserve their dead.
Their techniques were so good that we still find Egyptian mummies today! Embalmers performed the mummification process. It was complex, took many days, and always began the same way…with a corpse!
Step 1: Wash the body with palm wine and water from the Nile River.
Step 2: Make an incision on the left-side of the abdomen.
Step 3: Remove the lungs, stomach, liver and intestines through the incision.
Step 4: Push a brain hook up into the left nostril and jiggle it around to liquify the brain.
Step 5: Turn the body over and allow the brain to flow out through the nostrils and into a bowl.
Step 6: Place the preserved liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines in canopic jars.
Step 7: Bury the body in a kind of salt called natron to dry it out.
Step 8: After 40 days, remove the natron. The body will be darker and much thinner.
Step 9: Wash the body and stuff the cavity with resin-soaked linen.
Step 10: Call the make-up artist to apply makeup to the face. He might want to fit the deceased with a wig.
Step 11: Rub the body in scented oil.
Step 12: Brush the body in melted pine resin (sap) to seal it.
Step 13: Place a golden plate with a Wadjet eye (the eye of Horus) over the incision.
Step 14: Waft incense to purify the air.
Step 15: Wrap the body in linen.
Step 16: Insert amulets (charms) in-between the layers of linens.
Step 17: Place a vulture amulet at the throat of the deceased.
Step 18: Place a special amulet called a heart scarab over the heart.
Step 19: Place a mask over the face of the deceased.
Step 20: Label the deceased with their name.
Step 21: Place the mummy in a sarcophagus.
Step 22: Place the sarcophagus in a tomb.
The ancient Egyptians recited spells or prayers from the Egyptian Book of the Dead to help the deceased in the afterlife. Below is one of these spells.
Come for my soul, O you wardens of the sky! If you delay letting my soul see my corpse, you will find the eye of Horus standing up thus against you…The sacred barque will be joyful and the great god will proceed in peace when you allow this soul of mine to ascend vindicated to the gods…May it see my corpse, may it rest on my mummy, which will never be destroyed or perish.