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Mummies, Mummies, Mummies: Facts About the Egyptian Dead

Updated on May 5, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has been studying Ancient Egyptian culture and religion since she was a young child. Now she enjoys sharing what she's learned.

A Beautiful Mummy at the Louvre
A Beautiful Mummy at the Louvre | Source
Mummy at the British Museum
Mummy at the British Museum | Source

What is a Mummy? Mummy Facts

A groan from behind the sarcophagus. Then a scratch scratch scratch. What's trying to escape from its ancient tomb? A mummy, of course. But, hey...then again, that's only in Hollywood movies. Let's learn some actual mummy facts.

Real ancient Egyptian mummies are something of a wonder to modern civilization. They have been woven into stories, movies, and poems for centuries and will probably continue to be a part of our tales for years to come. But what is so fascinating about a bunch of wrapped-up dead guys? What is a mummy, exactly?

A mummy is the body of a person that has been preserved by human or natural processes. The Egyptian mummies are quite different in one specific way, though. They have gone through a long and painstaking process of mummification. Usually this process was quite expensive, too. Mummification was usually a process reserved for royalty or very important people of ancient Egypt which included: the pharaohs, queens, nobles, priests, and more.

Now that we have an idea of what a mummy actually is, let's move on to some of the most interesting mummy facts that most people have never heard.

Mummy in London
Mummy in London | Source
Unidentified Mummy at the Smithsonian
Unidentified Mummy at the Smithsonian | Source
Little Boy Mummy at the Smithsonian
Little Boy Mummy at the Smithsonian | Source
Bull Mummy at the Smithsonian
Bull Mummy at the Smithsonian | Source

Interesting Mummy Facts & Info

Mummy facts always capture my attention. What is it about mummies that is so enchanting? Why is it that mummies look so beautiful to me? The obsession with mummy facts is all a part of the Ancient Egypt fascination for many of us. Let's learn some amazing mummy facts and info:

  • Mummies have been found all over the world, not just in Egypt.
  • Some of the countries mummies where mummies have been discovered include Mexico, Peru, Canada, China, New Guinea, Denmark, Italy, Russia, and Argentina.
  • It took Egyptian embalmers nearly seventy days to finish the process of mummification.
  • The organs of royalty and nobles would be removed from the body by a slit in the side and then individually wrapped and placed in canopic jars.
  • Egyptians believed that mummification was necessary for the person to continue into the afterlife.
  • Not only humans were mummified. There are also bulls, dogs, cats, jackals, and other animals that have been found in mummified form.
  • There's an estimated 70 million mummies that were made in Ancient Egyptian times!
  • The mummies bodies were covered with a substance known as natron, which absorbed moisture and also deterred bacteria from growing.
  • Though the lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach were removed from the mummies, the heart was left inside the body because the Egyptians believed it was the center of the soul and eternal life.
  • The canopic jars were special jars that held four of the body's main organs, with each jar having a lid in the shape of one of Horus' four sons' heads. One was a gorilla, one was a jackal, one was a human, and another a falcon (in my video above, you can see a half a set of canopic jars above the mummy's body).
  • Spices and wine were rubbed on the body before the mummification process was completed.
  • Frozen bodies found in the Arctic of a 30,000 year old wooly mammoth and a prehistoric man are also considered mummies.

A Statue of Anubis
A Statue of Anubis | Source
Ma'at
Ma'at | Source

A Little on the Egyptian Gods of the Dead

Now that we've learned quite a bit of interesting mummy facts, let's take a brief look into the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Egyptian Gods of the Dead.

Perhaps one of the most well-known Egyptian Gods of the Dead is the jackal-headed god Anubis. Why is he so popular as an Egyptian god of the dead? That is probably because he was considered the god of embalmification (or mummification). Many people find his image frightening, but if you really delve into the meaning and beauty behind this Egyptian God of the Dead you can see why many Pagans are fascinated with his presence. Read more about the Egyptian God Anubis by clicking here.

Ma'at is an Egyptian Goddess of the Dead in the sense that she weighed the hearts of the dead against her feather, which determined where the soul of that person would go in the afterlife. Ma'at was not only an Egyptian Goddess of the Dead in this regard, but she was a Goddess of many other aspects in life and the universe.

Osiris was an Egyptian God of the Dead in a sense that mummification was attributed to his death. In many texts, Osiris is called the Egyptian God of the Afterlife or Underworld as in the Egyptians' beliefs he was killed and then resurrected (similar to Jesus Christ). Therefore he has triumphed over death and guards the Underworld. He is a very interesting figure and Egyptian God of the Dead. Osiris was also thought to have been the very first mummy.

© 2012 Nicole Canfield

Comments

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  • ryano123 profile image

    Elvis Jackson 

    5 years ago from All around the world!

    Gotta love somme mummies! Interesting stuff!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    flashmakeit - Certain animals were sacred to the ancient Egyptians, I'm actually writing an entire hub on mummified animals right now. :)

  • flashmakeit profile image

    flashmakeit 

    6 years ago from usa

    That was an interesting article and I really do not know why the would want to mummify an animal.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Phoenix - From what I've read, anyone who had the money to be mummified could do so...and for the commoners, I believe they were simply wrapped in a shroud and buried...but I'm not positive on that. I'll have to look into it further and let you know. Thanks!

  • phoenix2327 profile image

    Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    What I like about your hubs is the fact that they challenge my mind and make me want to learn more about the world we can see and the one we could see if we're open to it. And for that, I thank you.

    This is was a good read and quite educational. I didn't know mummification was only for the upper echelon of society. So what did everyone else do? Were they just buried? Were they give the same rite of passage to the Underworld?

    Voted up, interesting and beautiful.

  • Patty Kenyon profile image

    Patty Kenyon 

    6 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

    Interesting Article!!! I loved the opening paragraph, good way to draw readers to the rest of your Hub!!!!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    algarveview - Thanks so much!

    Craig - Yikes. This a little too heavy of a conversation for my liking, friend to be totally honest. I can appreciate your opinion on reality, "religion", and "fairy tales"; however, I still hold true to my own belief that we create our own realities. While I don't believe that there's a "god" out there "looking out for us", I do believe we are on this planet to experience and learn from our mistakes and doings. I choose not to live my life in fear, and that means to always be searching for wisdom, deep spiritual wisdom...not the kind that's told to me by others...something that I experience for myself. I do not have all the answers and don't claim to, but I think you are making assumptions that are uncalled for here.

  • Craig Suits profile image

    Craig Suits 

    6 years ago from Florida

    I don't "look down" on anyone's personal beliefs however I don't understand how educated minds can believe in philosophies that are completely unproven.

    No matter where you go in this world we teach our children and our taught as adults to prove absolutly everything we do from a simple math problem to proving the designs for a new bridge somwhere. Everything except religion. Doesn't that get you wondering why?

    You seem to believe that those that do believe in mystical fairy tales live a much happier, fulfilling life and you don't seem to see the harm with such a life style either.

    Well, that's par for the course I'm affraid Kitty but I bet if you looked into your beliefs a little deeper you would come up with much different results. For instance:

    Where's the harm you ask:

    In the last 10,000 years I would venture to say there has been well over a billion of two of our children blown to bits on religious battlefields for one.

    Two, you can reasearch the absolute monumental waist of time and resources building, pyramids, churches, printing bibles, and virtually thousands of other endevors we idiots have been doing since day one while our children starve and die from illness we could cure overnight if we had the time and resourse.

    It goes on and on Kitty even now with these Islamic extremeists we stand to wipe out our entire race with newly discovered weapons of mass destruction in a matter of just days.

    No culture can progress the way it could and should and MUST I might ad while believing in childish fairy tales. You should read a couple of the hubs I did on this religious subject. I like you just by looking at you, your smile, and your "Kitty The Dreamer" monika.

    Dream away kiddo, but try to dream of reality, seeking out the truth, and try not to con yourself into believing God is personally watching out for you and if you follow most of the rules, you'll wind up in Heaven safe and sound when you die.

    What ever happens to us all Kitty is unknown to every single human being on the planet. We're a brand new species believe it or not so keep in mind, there is nothing at all wrong with saying: it beats the hell out of me. I just don't know. At least you'd be honest about it.

    If you want to believe anyway, which most people do despite pretty credible circumstancial evidence to the contrary, then explain to me why 227,000 "believers" died horrible deaths in the Indian Ocean catastrophy. Then, explain the Hatian earthquake that took out another 200 thousand and then the Japanese disaster, all within the last ten years.

    No Kitty, no one is watching out for any of us.

    You have a very special thinking mind that the world needs in order for our race to survive let along progress. Don't waist it on fairy tales. Put it to work. And if there is a God, I'm sure he'd be very proud of you. Hell, I am, and I don't even know you. So stop jabberin about invisible people that live in the clouds and start planning how to stop the asteroid that will be blowing us all to hell in 2029 or any number of other impending disasters mother nature has in the oven.

    This world needs dreamers and doers. Dreaming without doing is useless. You can do both...

  • algarveview profile image

    Joana e Bruno 

    6 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

    Hi, Kitty, great hub, mummies always fascinated me and you are quite right, mummies appeared in various parts of the world, but for some reason we tend to connect them immediatly with Egypt, I think it's because of the movies... Anyway, very interesting facts. Voted up and interesting and sharing! Stay well!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Craig - But why is it that people who believe in an afterlife are looked down upon as simple "fairy tale" believers? Just in my opinion, I feel that Western society, schools, media, etc. push the idea that the afterlife and spirituality is a silly superstition...they seem to want us to think that faith is merely a hoax. But why? Even if these beliefs are not true in the end, don't many of us live much happier, fulfilling lives if we have something to look forward to with death?

  • Craig Suits profile image

    Craig Suits 

    6 years ago from Florida

    Interesting read Kitty.

    What always amazed me is the degree in which the various cultures go in order to satisfy their beliefs in an afterlife with absolutly zero proof that any of it is nothing more than fairytales. One would even go so far as to asume the higher a persons education, the better equipped he would be to spot fairy tales as opossed to reality. That just doesn't seem to be the case.

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