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What is a Mummy ???

 
 A mummy is a corpse whose skin and dried flesh have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or airlessness. Ancient Egyptians used chemicals—natural salts—to dry their corpses. Basically, when all moisture is removed from a corpse, it becomes a mummy. The Egyptians used natron—a naturally-occurring desiccant. 
 
A desiccant is a substance that has a high affinity for water and is used as a drying agent. The earliest known “mummy” dates back to approximately 3300 BC. This mummy is at the British Museum in London, England and has been given the nickname of “Ginger” because of its red hair. “Ginger” was found buried beneath the hot, dry desert sand which preserved the body. 
 
Mummy Meaning

Mummy Meaning
 
Although mummification existed in other cultures, eternal life was the main focus of ancient Egyptian religion. In order to prepare for eternal life, the body needed to be preserved so that the person’s soul—called “ba” by Egyptians—would always have a place to reside after death. At first, the Egyptians tried to preserve the entire body. Over time, though, they realized that they needed to remove the internal organs. 
 
They crafted special canopic jars to hold the organs. Then, embalmers used natural salts to remove all moisture from the body so that it is difficult for bacteria to thrive inside it and cause decay. Once all moisture was removed and the body fully dried, the mummies were anointed with oils and perfumes to prepare them for their journey to the afterlife. 

 Canopic jars to hold the internal organs during the mummification process  Since mummification was a process associated with religious belief in eternal life, the enbalmers in ancient Egypt were actually specially-trained priests. They knew how to work with salts and which prayers and rites were associated with each step in the process.

Mummy Meaning video



Mummy making activity Try this! You’ll need: 


• Small apple
• Two plastic cups (about 10 ounce size)
 • One box of baking soda
 • One box of table salt
• One-cup measuring cup
• Knife
• Spoon
• Laboratory Scale

 

Make an Mummy ( Apple Mummy )

 
1. Cut the apple in half. Then, cut each half in half again so that you have four quarters. Select the two quarters that appear to be the closest in size. (You won’t need the other two quarters, so you can eat them.)

2. Put one quarter in each of your two plastic cups. Use your laboratory scale to weigh each of the two cups. Record your data.

3. Prepare the desiccant mixture. Fill the measuring cup to the one-third cup level with baking soda. Then, use the salt to continue filling the cup up to the two-thirds level. Use the spoon to gently mix the baking soda and salt together in the cup.

 4. Pour the mixture into one of the two plastic cups, covering the apple quarter. Make sure the apple is completely buried.

 5. The apple in the other cup is your control sample. Do nothing to it. Leave it exposed to air.

6. Place the two cups side-by-side somewhere dry and away from direct sunlight. (A shelf in a closet or cabinet works well.)

7. Wait seven days. Carefully uncover your buried apple by pouring the baking soda/salt mixture out. Compare the two apples. Weigh the two cups again and compare your data. (Warning: do not eat either apple! Discard both after you finish comparing them.)  
 
 

What is Natron?


Natron is a white/colorless salt found in the Earth in various locations around the world, including Egypt. The Egyptians called it “natron” because they found vast supplies of it in the Natron Valley’s salt lakes. These lakes were linked to the Nile River via underground channels, but they were dry most of the year. When natron comes in contact with moist materials, it acts as a drying agent, drawing the moisture out of the other material and into its  own molecules.  
 
As a mineral, natron had many other uses in ancient Egypt besides for mummification. Artists mixed Natron with other minerals and oils to make the color known as “Egyptian Blue” that appears in so many recovered artifacts.  Natron was also used to make glass and ceramics and as a soldering agent for binding precious metals (especially gold) together. Mixed with oil, natron became a kind of soap. 
 
Mixed into a paste, natron was used as a toothpaste and mouthwash. When mixed with salt, natron could be used to preserve fish and meat for future meals. In many ways, natron was a vital ingredient of civilization in ancient Egypt.  Natron is still mined and used today. One surprising use is in the preparation of Bavarian Pretzels! Dough is dipped in a natron solution before baking to give the pretzels their distinctive flavor and brown color.
 
 

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