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The Egyptians believed in life after death, or afterlife. They also believed the sprit would need to come back to it’s body to rest, so they worked hard to preserve it.
One famous Egyptian story tells about Osiris, who once ruled Egypt. He was supposed to have been murdered by his jealous brother, Set. After having many adventures, Isis, the wife of Osiris managed to restore him to life. The Egyptians were, in their afterlife, supposed to “live” in a land ruled by Osiris. Their next life would be similar to their present one, except free from all troubles and more comfortable.
They still would need supplies for their afterlife, so they would take everything they need and store it in jars. Then they would cast a spell over the jars so their contents would last forever. They would also take papyrus scrolls and write formulas on them, to overcome all obstacles in their future life. Little servant statues were to serve as servants. They had one servant statue for each day of the year, and one for each special job that may need to be done in their future life.
In order so the sprits would recognize their body, the Egyptians would mummify it. Mummify means treat a body with preservatives so it will not decay.
First the Egyptians would take all the organs out and put them in canopic jars. Canopic jars are jars with lids in the form the head of an animal, god, or the person themselves. They would throw away the brain because they believed the heart did all the thinking. They would leave the heart in the body. Then they would dry the body and organs in natron, a mixture of salt and baking soda. Earlier in history they would have dried the body in the sun. Next they would pack the body in linen so it would regain its original shape. It would then be soaked in scented oils and washed in wine and spices. Then they would start by wrapping each finger and toe individually. Then they would wrap each arm and leg. Next they would wrap the whole body together. Then they would place at least one coffin over the body. Some mummies have been found with as many as three. Then they would put it into the sarcophagus. The pyramid was where they put the finished mummy.
Other Types of Mummies
Animals were very important to Egyptian culture because many of their gods had a head in the form of an animal. Egyptians had always made mummies of people important to them; therefore they made mummies of animals important to them. Animal mummies were made the same way as people mummies.
There is one kind of mummy that is not artificially preserved. These mummies are called accidental mummies. The bodies of these mummies got stuck in ice, caves and other preservative materials. These mummies “accidentally” got preserved.
The poor who could not afford the expensive mummification process were simply buried in the sand wrapped in a straw mat. A large stone was placed over the grave to keep the jackals out.
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