The afterlife was very important in Ancient Egypt, and the Egyptians developed a way of preserving bodies for the afterlife called Embalming.
Following death, a body was taken to a place of purification. It was then washed with palm wine and spices.
All internal organs except the heart were removed; it was believed that the heart would be needed in the afterlife; and the body was then dried with a substance called natron. Following this the body was stuffed with dry materials such as sawdust and leaves.
The body was then laid out ready for wrapping. It was wrapped in many layers of linen cloth and coated in a black resin between layers. The complete body was wrapped, starting at the top of the head and finishing at the toes.
Finally there would be a last coating of resin to protect the body against the threat of moist air.
This complete process could take up to 70 days.
The mummy would then be covered with a shroud and placed in a stone or wooden container called a ‘sarcophagus’.
It is believed that there were 3 processes of mummification and these depended on the wealth of the family or on people who wanted to save unnecessary expense.
The Pharoah always had the most expensive mummification as they were considered to be a god. During the wrapping of the body, amulets were placed between the layers of linen. It was believed this would guard the body against evil and protect it in the afterlife.
Pharoah’s had a head mask placed over their mummified body. This was often made of gold and would be a likeness of the Pharoah. The body was then sealed in a tomb with all the worldly goods that could aid it in the afterlife.