Monday, December 15, 2008

Unwrapping a mummy

Wouldn't it be exciting to unwrap a mummy yourself!? I would want to, just to see what one looked like and also be able to have that experience. Other people have many different reasons though. It goes all the way from searching for gold to the desire to learn mummification techniques. Many people study and unwrap mummies of paleopathology. I know what your thinking, what in the world is that? It is the study of diseases, or pathological conditions in ancient people. People who do this type of research compare their conditions with modern man. Do you think we are much different than the mummies? In some way we were and in other ways we aren't. Disease was common but not for the same reasons as us today. Bilharzia sis, or in simpler form "small worms" bore through farmer's and fisherman's feet. OUCHY! That must have hurt! Not to mention that it is also very NASTY! This disease could cause severe damage or maybe even death...dun dun dun! These worms were found in the irrigation canals and near the banks of the Nile River, where the water slows. Be careful! Just kidding! The man who discovered this disease was named Ruffer. He also was the founder of another interesting condition of the Egyptians. The mummies teeth were very worn down. This could have occured because they grinded there teeth (probably not) most likely it was because of the sand that was in their food. I'm sure glad we don't have sand in our food!

Leading it all up!

Have you ever wondered...what made Egyptians even think of creating a mummy? I have. Its pretty simple. It was done by accident at first (isn't everything?). Ancient Egyptians buried their deceased underground just the same as us. They first buried them in sand. Later they found out that they had naturally preserved the bodies! Soon they started to think that people lived after they died. (hmm...sounds pretty crazy!). As they began to believe that bodily preservation was connected to immorality, they started changing up their ways of mummification. They continued to bury people in the sand but they added a sarcophagus(kinde like a coffin) for the dead to lie in. They also made an addition by included things for the dead to do in the after life and needs that kept them alive. Needs? Who cares about needs!? The only important things are wants! As always there were some wants in there too. Oh no! The belongings of the descended started to get stolen by robbers! To prevent this problem the people started to burry the dead deeper in the sand to keep them form getting robbed. But of course that didn't keep that thieves from stealing! They had to then add a stone slab called a "mastaba" on top of the sand. Soon enough people starting wanting more and more mastabas, after putting one on top of the other they created the first step-pyramid. Yeepy! Then as years went on they created many different types of pyramids, improving each time! Unfortunately the sand obviously wasn't going to preserve the bodies because of the bodies's environment. So what had to happen? The Egyptians had to get off the lazy buttocks and do it themselves. That must have been hard work because it took a very long time! They wanted thier way of preserving the mummies to work just as well as the bodies that lay in the desert land. As years went on the became ver successful of thier goal! :)

Eygptians improved!

As the years went on the Egyptians improved mummification A LOT!

Old Kingdom-Very few mummies survived because mummification techniques were primitive. Therefore the bodies were poorly preserved. Explorers discovered many body parts such as hands, feet, legs and heads!!!! Ewww! Can you image finding a head with no body? I would be terrified! The reason they only found body parts was because they had 2,000 more years to decay than a Ptolemaic mummy. That's a long time!

Middle Kingdom-During this time period the Egyptians got smart and started to build pyramids with entrances on the south side to fool robbers(p.s. They used to be on the north side of the pyramid). How sneaky!!! Then they would cover the entrances with facing stones. They formed mazes inside the tombs to confuse the thieves. Now that would be a tough situation! But even after doing all this, the robbers still found ways to get into the pyramid!

New Kingdom-During these years the Egyptians started the removal of the brain. Wait. What? They removed the brain? How creepy! This might not make since to you but the Egyptians believed that the brain was a snot-maker. Man where they wrong! We believe that the brain is one of the most important parts of our body. After removing the brain they would stuff the skull with linen.

Late period-Not one single mummy was found after the twenty-second dynasty. None! Nothing! Not one single iota! This might be because this was the time of war, ugh i hate war! Cant the world just all get along?! This era was a very confusing time to where explores aren't even sure how the dynasty should be numbered. They need to get there act together! But from what we know they started the use of bitumen to cover the mummy. This made the mummies seem almost as a glass like structure. Because of all the upheavals there was little known about the late period :(


What? A lot of Egyptian pets were buried and mummified. Are you wondering why? Well i have the answer to that question! Pets were buried out of fondness and food for the deceased humans. Wow! I had no idea deceased people could get hungry! Also they were ritually killed and mummified as offerings to the god, hoooohahahahooooohahaha. Another reason is that certain sacred animals were mummified of natural causes. It is possible though that some pets were killed when their owner died. Soon the Egyptians thought that the animals represented gods and goddesses. As explorers have done more research they have come up with the idea that animals began to be raised for the specific purpose of being turned into mummies. How cruel! The Egyptians believed that you could almost take anything with you, they packed up pets, furniture, and clothes that might be useful on the flip side! There was quite a crazy group of mummified animals. They found remains of reptiles and animals such as dogs, apes, bulls, rams, and even an occasional hippopotamus. Man would they need a lloottt of linen for that! Believe it or not the most mummified animal was a cat. MEOW! Sound crazy? Animal cults focused on one specific animal in which the spirit of god would reside and be worshipped for the animals lifetime. Just like a president a new animal would then be chosen, but they chose their new animal for its special markings. Talk about an easy election! Some pets were given quite elaborate burials by their owners. And my parents call me spoiled! These animals that served as pets were occasionally buried with their owners.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Egyptians created mummies...but why?!?!?!?!?!

Why do you think Egyptians created mummies? There are MANY reasons...
At first Egyptians buried their people in the desert not really thinking anything of it. Its a good thing they did because that is how mummification got started! The Egyptians observed that bodies preserved under the desert were dried out and preserved all by their self! Whoah! Based on this observation, they believed that a person's spirit, or soul, lived on after their death. That's probably why they believed that the body and soul had to stay together like two pees in a pod after death. In case they lost each other it was important that the spirit could recognize its body in the afterlife so that it would have somewhere to live. The best way to help the soul was to preserve the body through mummification. They believed that the spirit could eat, play, and enjoy all the things it did during life. But how? You guessed it. The Egyptians burial had to provide everything for life in the tomb. Oh! Duh! That why they put some funky things in the tombs. Also inside, the tombs walls were decorated with scenes from life--sports, banquets, and everyday activities. Wait. Hold up! You are probably thinking this is a little crazy! I know i do! They did all these weird things because they wanted the people they loved to live forever in the afterlife. You know that for this to happen they had to be preserved so they were PERFECTO! This is very important so they can turn into the god Osiris.....Did i not tell you about the transformation to Osiris? Lets back track. The Pharaohs most importantly had to be preserved just right because they were believed to "magically" turn into the god Osiris. But c'mon we all know that could never happen. Could it?

What is the most important thing you learned form this blog?

Why do you think Egyptain mummified animals?

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