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Word Count: 570
Mummification in ancient Egypt was a very long and expensive process From start to finish it took about seventy days to embalm a body Since the Egyptians believed that mummification was essential for passage to the afterlife people were mummified and buried as well as they could possibly afford High-ranking officials priests and other nobles who had served the pharaoh and his queen had fairly elaborate burials The pharaohs who were believed to become gods when they died had the most magnificent burials of all In the case of a royal or noble burial the embalmers set up workshops near the tomb of the mummy The art of Egyptian mummification consisted of many steps First the body was washed and ritually purified The next step was to remove the deceased persons inner organs A slit was cut into the left side of the body so that the embalmers could remove the intestines the liver the stomach and the lungs Each of these organs was embalmed using natron which served to dry out the organs and discourage bacteria from decaying the tissuesThe organs were then individually wrapped using long strips of linen and placed in canopic jars The lids of these jars were fashioned after the four sons of Horus who were each entrusted with protecting a particular organHere are some canopic jars with lids depicting the four sons of HorusQebehsenuef the falcon head -- intestinesDuamutef the jackal head -- stomachKelsey Museum of Archeology KM 7311-4 After the removal of the inner organs the body cavity was stuffed with natron The brain was then removed through the nose using long hooks Since the ancient Egyptians considered the brain unimportant it was probably thrown away The body was then placed on a slanted embalming table and completely covered with natron This allowed fluids to drip away as the body slowly dried out This part of the process took about forty days after which the natron was removed
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