History Embalmed


The Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus

The Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus is synonymous with the artefacts found in Egypt. What exactly is an Egyptian sarcophagus and what was its purpose? Definition (plural: sarcophagi) : A sarcophagus is a stone container that usually houses a coffin and an Egyptian mummy.

The word 'sarcophagus' is derived from Greek words  "sarx" meaning "flesh", and "phagien" meaning "to eat". derived from a Greek word for "flesh-eating").

Early forms were made of limestone which had the property of consuming the bodies placed in limestone coffins which the Greeks called sarcophagus lithos (flesh-eating stone). The name sarcophagus was eventually applied to stone coffins in general which were not sunk underground.

The Egyptian interpretation of the word was the 'possessor of life' whereas we would believe the interpretation should be more akin to 'possessor of death'. The Ancient Egyptian interpretation of 'possessor of life' relates to their belief in the afterlife and that the deceased would eventually be reborn.

History and Description
The Ancient Egypt sarcophagus was usually the external layer of protection for a royal mummy, with several layers of coffins nested within. An Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus was highly decorated with ornate carvings and paintings. A typical sarcophagus were carved with hieroglyphs and reliefs, both internally and externally. The earliest type of stone sarcophagus were used by the Egyptian Pharaohs of the 3rd Dynasty. This early type of sarcophagus were designed to represent the palaces of the Pharaoh reflecting the architecture complete with false doors and windows. By the 11th Dynasty the sarcophagus was designed like a rectangular box. The sarcophagus of the Pharaohs from much later dynasties were shaped to resemble the human form with a carved portrait head of the Pharaoh. The materials used to make a sarcophagus ranged from stone to metal which included the most magnificent type of sarcophagus which were made of solid gold. During the 18-20th Dynasties the outer sarcophagus enclosed a series of inner coffins, also referred to as shrines, the last of which would contain the royal mummy of the Pharaoh.

Tutankhamun - King Tut
The Tutankhamun Sarcophagus (King Tut's ) was made of yellow quartzite. It contained three gold coffins nested within each other, like Russian dolls. Inside the final coffin was the mummy of the  Pharaoh Tutankhamun - King Tut. For comprehensive information please click the following link:

King Tut Sarcophagus

The Ramses II Sarcophagus
The tomb of Ramses II is massive covering more then 820 square meters (8,800 square feet). Unfortunately the tomb was subjected to destruction Tomb rubbers and only fragments of the sarcophagus of Ramses II have survived. The sarcophagus of Ramses was decorated inside and out with carved scenes and hieroglyphics from spells taken from the Book of Gates. The figure of the pharaoh stood out, in light relief, on the lid. The sarcophagus of Ramses II was once entirely encrusted with coloured pigments and faience, a trace of which are visible on a number of fragments.

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

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