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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 believed that an afterlife could only exist if there was a form the ka (soul) could repossess after death. Egyptians believed that the only way to do this was if the body was recognisable.
This is why they spent so long on the process of mummification and why Pharaohs began the building of their tombs during their lifetimes.


Head of a Mummy case found at Thebes.  The head has heavily made up eyes and a long, thin beard
Head of Richly Decorated Egyptian Mummy Case


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.

Wooden mask in the shape of the jackal headed god Anubis
Anubis Mask

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 a special burial chamber with lots of treasure.

Pottery jar painted with a scene showing a mummy in a boat
Egyptian Pottery Jar

To learn more about key features of ancient Egyptian society using original artefacts, go to: