Educator Resources for Mummies

Mummies chasing archaeologists around creepy tombs? Maybe in the movies. In ancient Egypt, mummification was all about preparing people for life after death! Back then, Egyptians believed that a person's spirit had to pass through a forbidding landscape called Duat to reach the afterlife. By passing a series of trials (including a ritual known as the Weighing of the Heart) the spirit would reunite with its body in Aaru, the Egyptian paradise. The catch? It all had to happen before the body decomposed! To buy the spirit more time on its journey through Duat, the Egyptians developed the process of mummification. Specially trained priests prepared the body by cleaning it, removing internal organs (including the brain, which was pulled out through the nose with a hook!), and covering it with a preservative called natron. Then they wrapped the body in linen bandages, gave it a life-like death mask, and placed it in an elaborate coffin. Only the very wealthy could afford this process, though regular folks who wanted a chance to reach Aaru could opt for natural preservation that took advantage of the desert’s dry air. Click “play,” and prepare to unwrap even more secrets of mummification!