The Importance Of Mummification In Ancient Egyptian Culture

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The methods of embalming, or treating the dead body, that the ancient Egyptians used is called mummification. Using special processes, the Egyptians removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay. It was important in their religion to preserve the dead body in as life-like a manner as possible. So successful were they that today we can view the mummified body of an Egyptian and have a good idea of what he or she looked like in life, 3000 years ago.

Mummification was practiced throughout most of early Egyptian history. The earliest mummies from prehistoric times probably were accidental. By chance, dry sand and air (since Egypt has almost no measurable rainfall) preserved some bodies buried in shallow pits dug into the sand. About 2600 B.C., during the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, Egyptians probably began to mummify the dead
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Much of what we know about the actual process is based on the writings of early historians such as Herodotus who carefully recorded the process during his travels to Egypt around 450 B.C. Present-day archaeologists and other specialists are adding to this knowledge. The development of x-rays now makes it possible to x-ray mummies without destroying the elaborate outer wrappings. By studying the x-rays or performing autopsies on unwrapped bodies, experts are learning more about diseases suffered by the Egyptians and their medical treatment. A better idea of average height and life span comes from studying the bones. By learning their age at death, the order and dates of the Egyptian kings becomes a little clearer. Even ties of kinship in the royal line can be suggested by the striking similarities or dissimilarities in the skulls of pharaohs that followed one another. Dead now for thousands of years, the mummy continues to speak to

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