Known for their popularity in ancient Egypt, mummies are the subject of many movies, stories or TV series today. The purpose of making mummies, which remind us of dark events, is much different than you might think. At the same time, the mummification process goes back to more ancient times than you can imagine. What is the mummification process that always makes us feel as an interesting preparation process? Why is it done? Who is the first mummy? Let’s see together…
Mummification is based on religious beliefs:
The mummification process is a tradition of great religious and cultural importance in the ancient world. The importance given to the mummification process at that time was so great that experts who would do it were sought after. We’ve all seen what a mummy is in many movies, TV shows or documentaries that have come out so far. The mummy figure depicted in various characters in the movies always evokes an element of ‘fear’.
The mummification process, which was carried out by experts in time, was applied as an indication that there would be life after death. Embalming the dead is also a form of preparation for the afterlife.
The most well-known people using the mummification process are the Ancient Egyptians. In addition, the Chinese, Guanche and Incas continued to use the mummification method in their own way.
Who did the first mummy belong to? When did mummification begin?
The first mummy specimen found in history appeared in the Valley of the Camarones. The mummy, which emerged in the Atacama Desert, which is considered one of the driest areas in the world, was made 7000 years ago. It is known that the mummies found belonged to the Chinchorro people , who now live in Northern Chile and Southern Peru. The mummies are two thousand years older than the ‘first’ mummies today.
In the mummification process of the Chinchorro people, the work started by removing the organs of the dead. After the hollow body and various parts were dried, the organs were combined. It was also filled with dried herbs. Apart from these, sticks were placed on the arms and legs, and clay masks were placed on the faces. After all is done, the last job is to paint the mummy.
The mummification process was applied only to the deceased elite . But times have changed for the people as well. The mummification, which was applied with the stages we mentioned, was applied to all the people of Chinchorro.
How is mummification done?
Mummification, which has a gradual process after one’s death. In order not to spoil the dead body, pesticides are applied. At the same time, the body can be dried. Resin is preferred in this process where herbal methods are at the forefront. Resin is a facilitating method for drying organs and skin.
Dead bodies of individuals can be included in mummification without the need for drying processes. But this goes through whether the body needs processing in order to be protected. The existence of mummies protected naturally in this way has been proven by researchers today.
The mummy found in a place called Spirit Cave is known as a completely natural mummy specimen. The mummy, which was wrapped in strawberries, was preserved under the influence of environmental factors. The fact that the cave was airless and dry became an important factor for the mummy to be preserved intact.
There was no trace of the mummy mentioned until 1940. After its discovery, it was determined that the mummy, which passed through radiocarbon, lived more than 10,000 years ago.
Ancient Egypt and the mummy:
It is obvious that Egypt is the first region that comes to mind when thinking about mummies, mummification processes, and mummy tombs. The mummification culture was very important to the Egyptian people. For Egypt, embalming was an established tradition based on a cultural and religious value.
During the New Kingdom of Egypt, mummification became not only a tradition, but also a practice that was developed and continued economically. There is a different case for Egyptian mummies than the people of Chinchorro, which we think have the oldest mummies. The most important feature of Egyptian mummies that distinguish them from Chinchorro is that they do not consist of the entire population.
Prepared in ancient Egypt, mummies were made for the nobility, royalty, wealthy and government. The amount that ordinary people could pay for the mummification process, which started to make economic sense over time, was out of question.
At the same time, as a distinctive feature of the Egyptians, it was noted that they did not touch the heart during the mummification process. Because, according to them, the heart also included the mind. The most important feature of a person was the heart. As a result of the research of the oldest known Egyptian mummies BC. It became clear that it was made in the year 3,500.
Egyptian mummification method:
The brain and internal organs, especially the abdomen, are removed from the body. The brain is taken from the nostrils using metal tools upon the return of that time. Other internal organs were removed by making a cut in the stomach with the help of hand. Fragrant plants were used for areas that could remain empty on the body.
After this discharge process, the person’s body has to be kept covered in salt for 70 days. Then the body was washed and wrapped with a linen cloth. Resin, a sticky substance, was used to ensure that the cloths adhered firmly. Finally, the corpse, which was placed in a wooden coffin, was handed over to his relatives.
Why is mummification practiced?
According to Ancient Egypt “ Why mummy? “The answer to the question is very obvious. The importance of this world to the ancient Egyptians did not end with being alive in the now and now. They believed that the soul and spirituality remained in the world after the person died. The remaining soul had to pass through the judgment of Osiris, the god of the dead. If this deceased was innocent, Osiris would allow him to live forever in heaven.
According to this belief, what the Egyptians should do is protect the body so that the dead body can continue its journey and encounter after death. The Egyptians did just as they believed. In order to keep their bodies intact, they carried out the mummification process very meticulously.
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