There were various ways of preparing the body for mummification. Sometimes it involved inserting a long spoon tipped instrument up the nasal cavity through the achenoid bone and into the brain, then with rotating movements the brain was disloged.
The alternative way was to cut out a small, usually round section of the skull away from its lower rear base, just above were the neck and skull join.
The brain was then removed through this aperture.
It is thought that Tutankhamun was preared for mummification in this manner.
After syringing or sluicing out the remaining brain tissue the body was rubbed with oils and ungents made from herbs and minerals that help delay the process of putrification.
It was important to remove as much of the internal tissue and organs to limit the risk of the body putrifiying and not being suitable for complete mummification.
The internal organs, usually the lungs, kidney's
liver and stomach were removed through an incision made by a wab priest using an obsidian knife that was used for no other purpose.
These organs were individually treated and wrapped then stored in canopic jars that were placed in the tomb with the mummified corpse at the time of internment.
Each jar was thought to be protected by one of the four sons of the god Horus.
The body was again annointed with oils before being immersed in natron for a specified time which varied.
But it is usually accepted that around 70 days was the time that it took for the body to "dry out" when immersed in a natron bath or buried under a mound of natron, which is a natuarally occuring salt found in Egypt.
The oils and unguents were again rubbed into the now blackened and dehydrated remains and the body was made ready for the process of bandaging.
The dehydrating effects of the natron often loosened the fingernail and toe nails of the deceased and many mummies have finger and toe stalls on their apendages to prevent the nails from disloging or being lost.
The ancient Egyptians considered it important that a person went into the After Life complete and mummifed remains that have suffered amputations in life usually have a false extremity included in their funerary goods.
The mummy windings often carried excepts from The Book of the Dead and The Book of Gates.
Among the many layers of bandaging amulets and charms were placed to protect the deceased.
It became quite fashionable during the Greco-Roman era to paint the deceased likeness on the lid of the coffin.
Other eras sometimes saw the use of a mummy mask which was a life like image of the deceased person that was fitted over the bandaging.
But this was not the usual instance and mostly reserved for royal persons during the New Kingdom e.g. Tutankhamun.
The final ritual occured at the tomb site and was called The Opening Of The Mouth.
In this way the deceased was thought to be given the power to sail with the gods in the solar barque into the Afterworld.
So long as they passed the Halls of Judgement and were deemed worthy by the scales of the goddess Ma'at.
Ancient history teacher.
· 1 decade ago