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Mummification Step by Step

Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife when someone died.  Mummification helped someone reach the afterlife as they thought that, in order to have an afterlife, the dead person would have to repossess his or her body. Egyptians believed that the only way to do this was if the body was recognisable.


Mummification was mainly done to wealthy people as poorer people could not afford the process. 


The chief embalmer was a priest wearing a mask of Anubis. Anubis was the jackal headed god of the dead. He was closely associated with mummification and embalming, hence priests wore a mask of Anubis.

This is the step-by-step process* of how mummification took place:  

  1. Insert a hook through a hole near the nose and pull out part of the brain
  2. Make a cut on the left side of the body near the tummy
  3. Remove all internal organs
  4. Let the internal organs dry
  5. Place the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver inside canopic jars
  6. Place the heart back inside the body
  7. Rinse inside of body with wine and spices
  8. Cover the corpse with natron (salt) for 70 days
  9. After 40 days stuff the body with linen or sand to give it a more human shape
  10. After the 70 days wrap the body from head to toe in bandages
  11. Place in a sarcophagus (a type of box like a coffin)

If the person had been a Pharaoh, he would be placed inside his special burial chamber with lots of treasure!

*To see a more detailed explanation of the mummification process, see another My Learning resource: Make me a mummy! Embalming tips

To learn about an Egyptian tale of how mummification started, see  Osiris and Isis: The Origin of Mummification

Also look on the British Museum's Ancient Egypt website (see Related Links at the bottom of the page) for an illustrated guide to the mummification process.


Anubis mask
Mummy mask © Harrogate Borough Council, Museums and Arts Service
Sarcophagus of a priest © Harrogate Borough Council, Museums and Arts Service