Introduction to Egyptian Mummification
Egyptians believed that the body was the link to a spiritual existence in the afterlife. The body was mummified so the spirit could get needed food and drink in the afterlife. In case the body was destroyed or damaged, magical spells were placed on a statue of the deceased so the spirit could continue to have their needs met.
Mummification was a long and expensive process. A person would need to have a tomb built, gather necessary objects to place in the tomb, and their son or a preist would have to be appointed to bring offering for the deaseased on a daily bases. In the Old Kingdom, it was a process reserved primarily for the Pharaoh and his top advisors. In the Middle and New Kingdoms, the Egyptians came to believe that the afterlife extended to the general population. The expense still limited full procedure to those who were finanically well off in the society. For the poor, a shallow grave near the desert was common. The dry, hot climate often caused natural mummification.
There were three basic ways to mummify a body. The first method of mummification will be covered in detail on the next page (process of mummification). The second was to inject the body with cedar oil through the rectum and then dry the body with natron. The third way, similar to the second, was to inject the body with an unknown liquid and again dry the body.