MUMMIES THROUGH TIME
Egyptian mummification wasn’t always the same. The practise of mummification and preserving the dead evolved and developed over more than 3,000 years.
Here’s a quick rundown on the development and change in this delicate and often strange funerary etiquette.
circa 3100 B.C.
Bodies are usually buried in simple oval graves. The sand would dry and preserve the bodies. Natural preservation ruled.
During the Old Kingdom, pharaohs are buried in large Mastabas/Pyramids. Artificial mummification is first performed.
The Middle Kingdom saw mummification extend to most of the population - not just the elite. Complexity and type of mummification depended on your budget. The bigger your coin purse, the better the preservation.
Mummification reaches its technical zenith. Bodies are so well preserved that their features are still easily recognisable today. It also became the norm to bury the dead with large, sprawling papyri - detailing the Book of the Dead.
As the Late Period crept in, there is a surge in animal mummification. Usually, they were offered to the Gods as votive appeasements. It wasn’t just during the Late Period that animals were mummified, but a sharp increase nonetheless. Also, mummification was so excellent at this point, that Canopic Jars started to be phased out. Organs were mummified individually and then placed back inside the body.
Mummification gradually comes to an end. Christianity was sweeping through Europe and beyond. As it touched Egypt, a new set of beliefs about the afterlife takes hold.
The old ways are no more.