Mummy Meaning is a corpse whose skin and dried flesh have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or airlessness. Ancient Egyptians used chemicals—natural salts—to dry their corpses. Basically, when all moisture is removed from a corpse, it becomes a mummy. The Egyptians used natron—a naturally-occurring desiccant.
A desiccant is a substance that has a high affinity for water and is used as a drying agent. The earliest known “mummy” dates back to approximately 3300 BC. This mummy is at the British Museum in London, England and has been given the nickname of “Ginger” because of its red hair. “Ginger” was found buried beneath the hot, dry desert sand which preserved the body.
Although mummification existed in other cultures, eternal life was the main focus of ancient Egyptian religion. In order to prepare for eternal life, the body needed to be preserved so that the person’s soul—called “ba” by Egyptians—would always have a place to reside after death. At first, the Egyptians tried to preserve the entire body. Over time, though, they realized that they needed to remove the internal organs.
They crafted special canopic jars to hold the organs. Then, embalmers used natural salts to remove all moisture from the body so that it is difficult for bacteria to thrive inside it and cause decay. Once all moisture was removed and the body fully dried, the mummies were anointed with oils and perfumes to prepare them for their journey to the afterlife.
Canopic jars to hold the internal organs during the mummification process Since mummification was a process associated with religious belief in eternal life, the enbalmers in ancient Egypt were actually specially-trained priests. They knew how to work with salts and which prayers and rites were associated with each step in the process.
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