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Egyptian Mummies

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In ancient Egyptian society preserving a body after death was an
important process necessary for entrance into an immortal existence.
According to Egyptian belief the soul did not die. The soul would take the
form of a bird usually a falcon and fly around in the world of the living
returning later it's dead body. The importance of preserving the body
revolved around the idea that the roaming soul would be able to recognize
the right body and return to it. As a result of this theology Egyptians
developed an effective system of embalming.

The Egyptian embalming process was a significant and complicated
process performed by priests. Employing a crooked piece of iron the brain
would be removed through the nostrils. A sharp stone was used to cut open
the body and extract the intestines. Palm wine and spices were used to
purify the intestines. The chest and stomach areas would be filled with
myrrh, cinnamon, and other herbs. The body would be sewn up and immersed
in natron for seventy days. After the seventy days the body would be
washed and wrapped in linen from head to foot bound by a gum like substance.
Upon completion of this procedure the body would now be ready for burial.
Egyptians used other methods of embalment. One method attributed to the
lower class was to bury the body in the desert sand for a lengthy period of
time. The result of this method dried the skin of the body into a leathery
shell. Arab historian Abdel el Latif discovered on one of his expeditions
a rather unorthodox method of embalment. Latif and his team came across a
jar filled with honey. During a lunch break Latif and his party indulged
in the jar of honey until hair began to emerge from the jar. Upon close
observation the body of a small child was uncovered perfectly preserved in
the honey(not too appetizing).

The most well known mummies are those of Egyptian Pharaohs. The body
of Tutankhamun is the most renowned fully intact mummy. Several other royal
mummies have survived the centuries but they have been re-wrapped and
stripped of their jewels. Re-wrapped mummies were not properly completed
and were always hurried(for fear of divine retribution). The Egyptians
worshipped several animals. Divine animals such as cats, jackals, hawks,
and bulls were allowed the same mummification privilege as humans. Entire
cemeteries were reserved for animals. The cat cemeteries were situated
around Bubastis the ...

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