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When we hear the word “mummy,” most of us automatically think of ancient Egypt and its pharaohs (all right, some of us might think of the blockbuster film The Mummy). But there’s more to mummies than Hollywood and ancient Egypt as you will soon see in these fascinating facts about mummies.It was very important to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs that the human body was preserved. A method of artificial preservation, called mummification was developed by the ancient Egyptians. Mummification was a complicated and lengthy process which lasted up to 70 days.A mummy is the body of a human or animal that has been ceremonially preserved by removal of the internal organs, treated with natron (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and resin, and wrapped in bandages.Some animal mummies discovered by archaeologists include jackals, cats, baboons, horses, birds, gerbils, fish, snakes, crocodiles, hippos, and even a lion.Despite mummies being linked with Egypt (almost exclusively), a South American tribe named Chinchorro was the first to make mummies. According to recent archaeological evidence, the oldest Chinchorro mummies date back about seven thousand years, twice as old as the first Egyptian ones.A mummy is the body of a person (or an animal) that has been preserved after death.They were any Egyptian who could afford to pay for the expensive process of preserving their bodies for the afterlife.The Egyptians believed in life after death. They believed that they had to preserve their bodies so they could use them in the afterlife.How were mummies made?It took a very long time, from start to finish, it took about 70 days to embalm a body. The priest in charge would wear the mask of a jackal representing the god Anubis.1. The body was washed and purified.2. Organs were removed. Only the heart remained.3. The body was filled with stuffing.4. The body was dried by covering it with a substance called natron*. This substance absorbed all the moisture from the body. 5. After 40 - 50 days the stuffing was removed and replaced with linen or sawdust.6. The body was wrapped in strands of linen and covered in a sheet called a shroud. 7. The body was placed in a stone coffin called a sarcophagus.The mummy was now ready for its journey to the afterlife.Up to 7 cloth shrouds (sheets of fabric) were placed over each mummy.What is natron?Natron is a natural salt, composed of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate with traces of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. It was used by the ancient egyptians to dry out the bodies.The Egyptians believed that if the pharaohs body could be mummified after death the pharaoh would live forever. The tombs were designed to protect the buried Pharaohs body and his belongings.
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