Canopic jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process as early as the Old Kingdom right the way through to Ptolemaic Egypt.

There were four jars in total. One for the liver, one for intestines, one for lungs and another for the stomach.

The heart was left inside the body as the Egyptians believed the soul resided there and should not be parted with its host.

The four jars each represented a son of Horus.

They were;

Imsety - protector of The Liver
Hapi - protector of The Lungs
Duamutef - protector of The Stomach
Qebehsenuef - protector of Intestines.

From the Third Intermediate period onwards dummy jars were used. Embalming techniques had improved to the point where the organs could remain inside the body. Still, canopic jars were still placed in tombs for ritualistic reasons.

Can you imagine if this process was still being carried out today? Pretty gruesome!