The British Museum Ancient Egypt: Mummies - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Title: The British Museum Ancient Egypt: Mummies


1
Ancient Egypt How were mummies made?
2
Herodotus (a famous ancient Greek historian)
described mummification in this way
As much as possible of the brain is taken out
through the nostrils with an iron hook. What the
hook cannot reach is rinsed out with drugs. Next
the side is cut open with a flint knife and the
whole contents of the abdomen removed. The space
is then thoroughly cleansed and washed out, first
with palm wine and again with liquid containing
spices. After that, the space in the body is
filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and other
perfumes except frankincense and sewn up again.
Then the body is placed in natrum, covered
entirely over, for seventy days - never longer.
When this period is over, the body is washed and
then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into
strips and smeared with gum, which is often used
by the Egyptians instead of glue. The body is
given back to the family, who have it put into a
wooden case shaped like the human figure. The
case is then sealed up and stored in a burial
chamber, upright against the wall.
3
Herodotus provides us with written evidence of
the process of mummification. The British Museum
contains objects and documents which help us to
understand how this process was carried out.
The Egyptians did not understand what the brain
was for. They needed to take it out to preserve
the body. The easiest way to do this was through
the nose with a hooked probe.
A small incision (cut) was made in the left side
of the body to remove the internal organs.
They left the heart inside the body. It would be
needed during the journey to the afterlife where
it was weighed against the feather of truth.
They removed the other organs and dried them to
preserve them.
4
The organs could be placed in Canopic jars to
keep them safe.
Qebehsenuef the falcon-headed god looks after the
intestines.
Which organ goes in each canopic jar? Look at
the heads.
Hapy the baboon-headed god looks after the lungs.
5
Duamutef the jackal-headed god looks after the
stomach.
Imsety the human-headed god looks after the
liver.
6
They washed the body with pleasant smelling
liquids.
They then covered it in natron (natural salt) for
40 days. This dehydrated (dried out) the body
and stopped it rotting. This ensured the body
was preserved.
Once the body had dehydrated it was washed again
using perfumes and oils.
7
The clean and dehydrated body was then carefully
wrapped in linen sheets and strips.
The body was wrapped very carefully to look like
a human figure. This shape could be used in the
afterlife if the persons body itself did not
survive very well.
Amulets were placed in the mummy wrappings.
These were like good luck charms and were used to
protect the body.
8
The mummified body was placed in a coffin. This
coffin could be shaped like a human.
The coffin could be painted or embellished with
other decoration such as gold.
9
The family then took the coffin to the tomb.
Funeral ceremonies were performed and the tomb
was sealed with the hope that the dead person
would reach the afterlife.
10
  • Find out more about ancient Egyptian
    mummification
  • Visit the main Museum website
  • www.britishmuseum.org
  • Use Explore to look at some of our mummies
  • www.britishmuseum.org/explore/introduction.aspx
  • Learn more about mummification
  • www.ancientegypt.co.uk
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The British Museum Ancient Egypt: Mummies

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Title: The British Museum Ancient Egypt: Mummies


1
Ancient Egypt How were mummies made?
2
Herodotus (a famous ancient Greek historian)
described mummification in this way
As much as possible of the brain is taken out
through the nostrils with an iron hook. What the
hook cannot reach is rinsed out with drugs. Next
the side is cut open with a flint knife and the
whole contents of the abdomen removed. The space
is then thoroughly cleansed and washed out, first
with palm wine and again with liquid containing
spices. After that, the space in the body is
filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and other
perfumes except frankincense and sewn up again.
Then the body is placed in natrum, covered
entirely over, for seventy days - never longer.
When this period is over, the body is washed and
then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into
strips and smeared with gum, which is often used
by the Egyptians instead of glue. The body is
given back to the family, who have it put into a
wooden case shaped like the human figure. The
case is then sealed up and stored in a burial
chamber, upright against the wall.
3
Herodotus provides us with written evidence of
the process of mummification. The British Museum
contains objects and documents which help us to
understand how this process was carried out.
The Egyptians did not understand what the brain
was for. They needed to take it out to preserve
the body. The easiest way to do this was through
the nose with a hooked probe.
A small incision (cut) was made in the left side
of the body to remove the internal organs.
They left the heart inside the body. It would be
needed during the journey to the afterlife where
it was weighed against the feather of truth.
They removed the other organs and dried them to
preserve them.
4
The organs could be placed in Canopic jars to
keep them safe.
Qebehsenuef the falcon-headed god looks after the
intestines.
Which organ goes in each canopic jar? Look at
the heads.
Hapy the baboon-headed god looks after the lungs.
5
Duamutef the jackal-headed god looks after the
stomach.
Imsety the human-headed god looks after the
liver.
6
They washed the body with pleasant smelling
liquids.
They then covered it in natron (natural salt) for
40 days. This dehydrated (dried out) the body
and stopped it rotting. This ensured the body
was preserved.
Once the body had dehydrated it was washed again
using perfumes and oils.
7
The clean and dehydrated body was then carefully
wrapped in linen sheets and strips.
The body was wrapped very carefully to look like
a human figure. This shape could be used in the
afterlife if the persons body itself did not
survive very well.
Amulets were placed in the mummy wrappings.
These were like good luck charms and were used to
protect the body.
8
The mummified body was placed in a coffin. This
coffin could be shaped like a human.
The coffin could be painted or embellished with
other decoration such as gold.
9
The family then took the coffin to the tomb.
Funeral ceremonies were performed and the tomb
was sealed with the hope that the dead person
would reach the afterlife.
10
  • Find out more about ancient Egyptian
    mummification
  • Visit the main Museum website
  • www.britishmuseum.org
  • Use Explore to look at some of our mummies
  • www.britishmuseum.org/explore/introduction.aspx
  • Learn more about mummification
  • www.ancientegypt.co.uk
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