Since ancient times, the ancient Egyptians invented a way of handling corpses, called mummification. Previously, the dead were buried in dry sand, but in Egypt there was almost no rain or very little rain. Incidentally, this natural condition has preserved a number of bodies buried in shallow pits.
Around 2600 BC, the Egyptians began purposefully mummifying the dead. They follow a special process to suck all moisture out of the body, leaving only a dry form that does not decompose easily. This technique was developed more than 2000 years later. The best-prepared and preserved mummies belong to the eighteenth to twenty-first dynasties of the New Kingdom (circa 1570-1075 BC), including mummies of famous kings from each dynasty .
The mummification process took place over 70 days, performed by priests. These people must learn some basic knowledge of human anatomy. First, they removed all the rapidly decaying body parts, the brain first. The priest will insert special hook tools through the body’s nostrils to remove pieces of brain tissue. This is a sophisticated technique, said to be quite difficult, requiring skilled technique.
The priests then proceed to remove the perishable organs from the abdomen and chest, through a cut made on the left side of the abdomen. The heart is left intact because they believe it is a person’s soul. The remaining organs such as the stomach, lungs, and intestines were removed and stored separately in boxes or jars, now known as canopic jars. They were buried with the mummies.
After removing all the body parts, the priests began to suck all the moisture out of the body. They used a salt with drying properties to coat and replenish the natron packets inside the body. Natron is a breakdown inhibitor. When it was completely dry, they took out the natron packets and gently washed away any remaining natron inside. The end result is a very dry but still recognizable human form.
To make the mummy more realistic, some of the depressions on the body were filled with linen and other materials, artificial eyes were added.
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