I’ve been reading some wonderful information this morning on the ancient Egyptian mummification processes and rituals. I highly recommend visiting the site if there is interest. It’s very easy reading without a lot of high-end scientific language that the layperson cannot decipher, or causes quick disinterest.
Quoting an excerpt from the sub-title “Sources and Research on Mummification:”
“… the earliest known accounts of mummification that are relatively complete occur in the writings of two specific Greek historians (Herodotus from the fifth century BC and Diodorus Siculus from the first century BC).”
“Prior to about 3400 BC, all Egyptians were buried in pit graves, whether rich or poor, royal or common.”
“Mummification was never generally available to the common classes of people. Yet, since they could not afford the sophisticated funerary structures, they continued to be interred in simple desert graves where their bodies were naturally preserved.”
(That last quote was a surprise to me. The website talks about it in a little more detail).
“Herodotus, the Greek historian, tells us that there were three primary types of mummification available which ancient clients chose according to their ability to pay for these services.”
(Maybe this is nothing new to those who study ancient Egyptology… but personally, I thought only the upper echelon was mummified).
There are several stages of the mummification process which include important and less important rituals. It is unclear whether the embalming process required a complete 70 days of processing for mummification, and whether the rituals were extended because of this timing requirement.
Ever look at pictures of ancient Egypt and notice a male figure with a jackal-headed mask in the grouping? I learned that this is a scribe who supervised the embalming and organized the mummification ceremonies. He wore this mask to impersonate Anubis, the god of embalming or god of the dead. I will never look at this character in group depictions quite the same way. Now I know that these are embalmers and ceremonial practitioners, which somehow gave me an unsettling feeling after reading how they went about extracting body parts. This information was not ‘too much’ but gave me a queer alien feeling. *shudders* Yet, on the other hand, knowing about the ’embalmers’ helped me understand some of the meaning of certain Egyptian pictures.
The Tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut)
The popularity of King Tut’s tomb and artifacts is due to the fact that it is one of the very few, if any, that was found most intact but not completely. Finding some 3,500 items in Tut’s treasure trove, aided Egyptologists in discovering what might have been stolen or removed from the royal tombs of grander kings.
A little side-step: Photos of “The Old Winter Palace” in Luxor, Egypt remind me a bit of the great casino hall in The Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was sooo desiring to visit inside and missed having done so en route from California to Michigan. It wasn’t until 3 or 4 years later, that I traveled to Vegas on a group business trip and had the opportunity to go inside The Luxor. While I was inside, I recall almost hating it. I couldn’t wait to get out. The colors of yellow and gold were everywhere and the lighting was uncomfortable. I went back out to the main lobby and up the elevators to check out magnificence of the building from higher up. That in itself was worth the ‘look-see.’ I left after that and went back to the New York New York. 😉
I guessed before I read the entire article that it might have been frankincense. I was partly correct.
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