How to Mummify a Body in Ancient Egypt Things You’ll Need: Body Canopic Jars Linens Cloth Coffin Salt Resin
Mummification Process Step 1: Announcement of Death Step 2: Embalming the Body Step 3: Removal of Brain Step 4: Removal of Internal Organs Step 5: Drying Out Process Step 6: Wrapping of the Body Step 7: Final Procession
Instructions Remove internal organs. The ancient Egyptians realized that the bacteria that lived in organs caused deterioration. These had to be removed to make sure the body would maintain. Important organs were placed in canopic jars and kept with the body.
Canopic Jars Imset protected the liver. He had the head of a human. Duamutef looked after the stomach. He had the head of a jackal. Ha'py watched over the lungs. He had the head of a baboon. Qebehsenuef looked over the intestines. He had the head of a falcon.
Arms and Legs These appendages became very shriveled and quite thin as they dried out. During 21st Dynasty, padding was added under the skin to make them look more life-like. The padding was added through a number of incisions made in the skin.
Brains During the 18th Dynasty, the brain began to be removed, most often through the nostril (occasionally through an eye socket or a hole drilled into the skull). After removal, the brain cavity was filled with sawdust, resin, and/or resin-soaked linen.
Eyes The eyeballs were often pushed into eye socket and covered with linen pads. Sometimes eyes were painted onto the linen, but eventually the Egyptians began to use stone or glass eyes. Some mummies received onion skins and occasionally whole onions for eyes.
Fingers and Toes During the New Kingdom, finger- and toenails were actually tied onto the body so that they wouldn't fall off during the drying period.
Intestines The intestines were usually placed in canopic jar. When mummymakers misplaced (or ruined) the internal organs of one mummy, a rope was substituted for the intestines in a canopic jar.
Kidneys The kidneys were usually not removed. There is no word in ancient Egyptian language for kidneys, so if they were sometimes removed, it may well have been accidental.
Liver, Lungs and Stomach These were usually placed in canopic jar.
Mouth The mouth was sometimes packed with material (such as linen or even wax), and the tongue was sometimes covered with a tongue plate, often made from gold.
Nostrils The nostrils were often plugged, especially by the New Kingdom. Resin covered with onion skin was put in nostrils of Ramesses IV. Mummymakers plugged nostrils with wax during the 21st Dynasty. One mummy's nose was even plugged with peppercorns during the 21st Dynasty.
Skin The skin became dried during the mummification process, so Egyptians rubbed different "moisturizers" onto the skin, such as oils, beeswax, spices, and even milk and wine.
The Heart Leave the heart inside the body. The heart was considered very important and was left inside to travel with the spirit. Often, a decorative encasing that resembles a beetle would protect the heart.
The Brain Remove and dispose the brain. The brain would be shrunk and taken out through the nose. Many mummies show evidence of tools used to take out this organ which was considered to be useless by the ancient Egyptians. Cleanse and purify the body. Use a special salt and resin to make the skin leather-like and keep it intact.
Body Prep Pack the body. To make the mummy maintain its human shape, fill it with cloth. Wrap the body with linen bandages. Start with each toe, finger and limb and work the wraps around the entire body. Often times, gold and other important objects would be wrapped up with the body so the relative could take those items to the afterlife.
Burial Complete the burial. Once the mummification process is over, the body would be placed in a decorate coffin, or even two or three decorative coffins and placed in a tomb.
Opening of the Mouth The Opening of the Mouth was performed by priests outside the burial chamber. This was one of the most important preparations. The family of the mummy recited spells while the priests used special instruments to touch different parts of the mummy's face. The Egyptians believed that the mummy would not be able to eat, see, hear, or move in the afterlife if this ceremony did not take place.
Weighing of the Heart The most important task to achieve immortality was not actually seen by anyone. This task was called "The Weighing of the Heart." Egyptians believed that the most powerful part of a person was his heart. The heart was never removed from the body, because it was considered to be the center of a person's being. In this ceremony, the gods of the underworld judged the mummy's heart, or how well he behaved during his natural life. Maat, the goddess of truth, brought out her scale; on one side was the mummy's heart, and on the other was the Feather of Truth. Anubis, the god of the underworld, made the final judgment, and Thoth, the scribe god, recorded it all. If the heart balanced the feather, the soul of the mummy was granted immortality. If the heart was heavier than the feather (if the sins outweighed the virtues), the soul was doomed to a horrible fate. The heart was thrown to a monster called Ammit, or Devourer of the Dead.