How Mummies Were Made

First the brain was taken out. There were three different ways to extract the brain, used in different time periods that mummies were made:

After the brain was taken out, the lungs, stomach, liver and intestines were taken out through an incision in the left side of the body, embalmed, and put in canopic jars. To fill the empty space in the body, bags of natron and sweet-smelling spices were placed inside the body. Originally, the heart was left in because it was thought to be easier for Anubis to weigh the heart against a feather to see if the person had led and honest life. In later times, the heart was taken out, embalmed and replaced by a stone scarab amulet as a symbol of renewed life.

The hole where the internal organs were taken out was covered with an embossed golden panel that had a picture of the eye of Udjat, the magic eye of Horus, who protected the dead.

Then the body was covered with natron and put on a slanted table with a jar at the bottom, near the lower end, so that the water extracted could be collected. The natron also acted as a fat dissolver and a weak antiseptic. The body was dried out for forty days.

After forty days, the mummy was cleaned off with oils and brushes so that no water would get into the body.

In later times, the mummy had a layer of tree sap, or resin, put on it to help preserve it. To keep the skin soft and smooth, it was rubbed with gum, cedar oil, wax and natron.

Then the body was covered with jewelry and sacred necklaces. Before the mummy was put in the coffins and sarcophagus, it was wrapped with many layers of linen strips.

Small dolls that looked like the mummy, called shabtis, were put in the wrappings. They were supposed to work in the fields for the mummy in the next life.

Finally, the mummy was put in three coffins and the sarcophagus, which was already in the tomb.

The whole embalming process took seventy days.