Death & Burial Page
Mummies, and the process of making them, have fascinated students and scholars for centuries. Here's how they made them . . .

Why did the Egyptians make mummies?

The ancient Egyptians observed that bodies buried under the desert were dried out and preserved. Based on this observation, they believed that a person's spirit, or soul, lived on after their death.

Boris Karloff in the Mummy

It was important that the spirit recognize its body in the afterlife so that it would have somewhere to live. Preserving the body through mummification was the best solution, but a statue of the deceased could provide a back-up resting place. The spirit could eat, play, and enjoy all the things it did during life. Therefore, the Egyptian burial had to provide everything for life in the tomb!

Journey to eternity . . . Once the body was mummified and encased in a coffin (like below), it was placed in a tomb. There were several types of tombs built over the centuries in ancient Egypt:

Rotating animated mummy
Mastabas | Pyramids | Rock-Cut Tombs

Inside, the tomb walls were decorated with scenes from life -- sports, banquets, and everyday activities. These scenes would provide for the deceased in the afterlife. Objects were also buried in the tomb to serve the dead person in the afterlife:

Shabtis | Food | The Book of the Dead
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© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
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