History Embalmed

Embalming Process

The Embalming Process used by the Ancient Egyptians
The Ancient Egyptians believed that elements of the soul were perishable and that the embalming process of mummification, rituals and magic spells promoted the well-being, and ensured the preservation of the dead bodies and their souls. Egyptian Mummification was the process of preserving and embalming a dead body in the belief that the body would be necessary in the Ancient Egyptian afterlife.

Using a special embalming process the embalmers removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay.

The process of embalming and Mummification required that microbial growth and dehydration was inhibited. The embalming process and creating a mummy was complicated and costly and was surrounded with ceremony and ritual. The whole embalming process and religious observances were conducted by embalmer priests.

The Embalming Process
The embalmers used a range of tools during the mummification process (some of which were left inside the mummies).

The embalmers tools included bronze hooks, knives, tweezers, needles and awls (a small point tool used for making holes) for opening, emptying and closing up the corpse. The mummification process which included the removal of organs were conducted on a special slightly slanted table which allowed the blood and bodily fluids to drain into a built in basin. The different Embalming Processes were accompanied by rituals and were as follows:

  • Embalming Process 1 - When an Egyptian died the family went into mourning and the body was taken to the embalmers and a price was agreed for undertaking the procedure
  • Embalming Process 2 - The body was taken for ritual washing. It was washed with palm wine to kill bacteria and rinsed with water from the Nile. The corpse was then transferred to the 'Place of Purification', the embalming hall called the Wabet
  • Embalming Process 3 - Removal of the brain. A hook was inserted into the nostrils and through the nose which punctured the brain. The corpse was turned on its side and the brain fluid drained out of the corpse
  • Embalming Process 4 - Resin such as pistacia tree resin and balsam sap was poured into the brain which then solidified  to prevent the skull from collapsing. Any fluid drained from the brain was discarded
  • Embalming Process 5 - Incisions were made into the body and the stomach, liver, lungs and intestines were removed
  • Embalming Process 6 - The organs were stored in special containers called canopic jars - which would be buried with the mummy. The canopic jars were filled with crystals of natron ( natron is a compound of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate which stopped rotting) The heart was left in the body as the Ancient Egyptians believed the heart would be needed on the Day of Judgement
  • Embalming Process 7 - The body and the cavity in the abdomen were packed with small sacks of natron
  • Embalming Process 8 - The body moisture was absorbed by the natron
  • Embalming Process 9 - The small sacks of natron were removed from the body
  • Embalming Process 10 - The corpse was washed with water
  • Embalming Process 11 - The body was then anointed with oils, incense, scents, spices, herbs and resins
  • Embalming Process 12 - The body cavity was then  packed with linen or straw soaked with the same oils, scents, spices, herbs and resins
  • Procedure 13 - The cavities were then sewn together
  • Embalming Process 14 - The body was then covered with layers with linen shrouds coated with resin. Linen bandages were used to bind the extremities

Embalming Process
The Embalming Process and techniques differed according to the roles and the wealth of the people they were embalming.  The wealthier the deceased, the more elaborate the process. The Egyptian mummification process therefore fell into three different categories:

  • The Pharaoh, Members of Royalty and the Nobility

  • The Middle Classes such as scribes, army officers, doctors etc
  • The Egyptian peasants

Embalming Process - The 70 Day Rule
The embalming process lasted for a period of 70 days. The seventy day embalming period corresponded to the length of time during which Sirius, the 'Dog Star', appeared to die by dipping below the horizon. The 70 day embalming rule applied to all classes of Egyptians - rich or poor. The 70 day embalming process for  Egyptians was divided into the following activities:

  • 15 days spent on cleansing and purification

  • 40 days drying period

  • 15 days wrapping, bandaging and paintings

Embalming Process
Each section of this Egyptian website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Egypt, the Ancient Egyptians and of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, King Tut.

Egyptian Mummies

Privacy Statement

Cookie Policy

2017 Siteseen Ltd