What are Mummies? Mummies are corpses whose skin and organs have been conserved from natural causes or from using chemicals. The most famous ones are found in Egypt, but the location of all mummies vary from Greenland, to China. Mummies can be created in a variety of ways, for example from extreme coldness, very low humidity, lack of air when their bodies are submerged in bogs, or intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals. The ancient Egyptians believed that mummifying a person would result in a safe passage to the afterlife.
The Mummification Process Anubis The mummification process is the process that is believed to be invented by Anubis, the Egyptian god. This process was used by the ancient Egyptians to preserve their bodies, and create a safe journey to the afterlife. First, the body is washed and ritually purified The Ancient Egyptians would then remove the inner organs but not the heart (to do this, they would cut a slit to the left side of the body; they left the heart because they thought it was the centre of intelligence and emotions) Each organ would be preserved using natron which is used to dry out the organs and stop bacteria from decaying the tissues Finally the body was filled with stuffing After 40-50 days, the stuffing was removed and replaced with sawdust or linen The body would then be wrapped in strands of linen and covered in a sheet called a shroud To finish the process, the body is put in a stone coffin called a sarcophagus
Top half of the mummies sarcophagusMummy Bottom half of the mummies sarcophagus Strands of linen covering the mummy
Mummy Facts During the medieval times physicians would sell fake or even real mummy flesh and wrapping in the form of powder medicine. It was used to help with problems from acne to ulcers Egyptian priests worked hard and tried several ways to protect royal tombs. They even inscribed curses of the mummies. They also built secret passageways, and enormous granite entryways Scientists were the first people to create the worlds first international mummy tissue bank at Manchester Museum, UK, in the late 1990’s. The tissue bank contains several tissue samples that came from mummies living in museums throughout the world, for use in medical research
Types of Mummies There is more than one type of mummy in the world. Mummies are categorized on their location, species, how the mummies were created and other minor aspects of them. Here are some examples: Animal Mummies- Egyptians loved their animals immensely, so they mummified them. The species of animals range from cats to birds. Mud Mummies- The Chinchocos, a fishing tribe, would completely disassemble the dead persons body. They would then remove all the persons flesh, heat dry and treat it, and then reassemble it. Sticks were all stuck into the body to strengthen the limbs. Then, everything would be tied together, and covered in white ash paste. The persons skin would then be put back on the face, and the Chinchocos would create a mud mask for the mummy. Red Mummies- the mummifiers wouldn’t disassemble the body, but instead would cut slits in the body to remove all the guts and organs, which would then allow the body to dry out. The brain, along with the other organs, would also be removed by cutting the head off of the body. The mummifiers would then pack up the bodies with feathers, clay and sticks for support, and place the head back on with the help of human hair and clay to keep it from falling off. They often wouldn’t place the skin back on, but instead cover the mummy with a coat of red ochre.
Types of Mummies Continued… Ice Mummies- Ice mummies are made naturally, from extreme weather conditions. These mummies are frozen and preserved that way. There are some famous ice mummies, including the one they call “Ice Man.” Bog Mummies- Bog Mummies are created when a person dies, and the body is left in a bog. The bog must be just the right temperature, and must contain tannic acid for the body to be preserved. Egyptian Mummies- Egyptian Mummifiers would use the mummification process to preserve their dead. Although not all mummies were given equal respect. Only the rich were buried in tombs, while the poor were buried in the sand. There are many more types of mummies, the list could go on, and on, but the examples I gave you are of the most famous.
Ötzi The “Ice Man” During the September of 1991, a mummy was found in the Ötzal Alps, on the border between Italy and Australia. The mummy was named Ötzi due to the fact that he was found in the Ötzal Alps. This mummy is Europes oldest naturally made human mummy. Ötzi was found frozen in a glacier, until it was removed by the Austrian authorities using a jackhammer and ice-axes. Once released from the ice, he was taken away to be carefully examined. Ötzi was approximately 5 ft 5 when he died, and weighed about 110 lb’s. Because of breathing in smoke from campfires, the Ice Man also had blackened lungs. The examiners were even able to find out the last couple of meals the mummy ate! Before he died, Ötzi consumed chamois meat, red deer meat, grain, roots and fruits. They also discovered that the Ice Man was sick three times in the last six months before he died. The examiners were not fully certain, but they did believe that Ötzi may have died from exposure to a winter storm, it has also been thought that the mummy was a victim of a ritual sacrifice. Ötzi also wore clothing, and carried tools and equipment with him. The tools and equipment included a flint knife and its sheath, a copper axe, and 14 arrows. The clothing he wore included a grass woven cloak, a belt, pair of leggings, coat, shoes, and a bearskin cap.
The Vancouver Mummy It just so happens that there is a mummy living in our own city, Vancouver. If you visit the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), there is one exhibit that will stand out to them all. An actual mummy was donated to the museum by Dr. G.E. Kidd, and from there was further examined. It was discovered that the name Panechates son of Hatres was written on the mummies chest. The mummy was also x-rayed, and it was revealed that he had severe fractures in his skull, and both of his femurs. Studies of the mummies teeth and bones, made the examiners come to the conclusion that the mummy was about 7 to 8 years old when he died. When studying the writing style, and mummification techniques of the mummy, the examiners also believed that the mummy died sometime between the late 2nd century, and midst 1st century BCE.
Mythical Mummies In movies and books, people are alwaysgetting cursed by mummies, mummies come tolife, mummies have special powers, etc. Thetruth is, mummies can’t actually do this, becausethey are dead. These stories are just made upfor entertainment, and to scare off unwantedguests in mummies tombs. Also, mummies areoften associated with Halloween characters, andpeople will dress up as mummies using toiletpaper. Here are some examples.
THE ENDAs you can see, there is a lot more to mummies than just being dead. Mummification started out as a religious thing to do (it resulted in a safe passage to the afterlife), but now people also use mummies to entertain people, like in movies or books. Of course, before this presentation you had probably heard of the ancient Egyptian mummy, but you now know that there is much more then one type of mummy.
Bibliography (Websites/ Books) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummies http://www2.si.umich.edu/chico/mummy/what.html http://www2.si.umich.edu/chico/mummy/how.html http://www.woodlands- junior.kent.sch.uk/Homework/egypt/mummies.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummy http://library.thinkquest.org/J003409/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/object_gallery.php?i d=18&slide=1&theme=all&tag=none&medium=all Mythical Monsters by Chris McNab