How do you mummify a body? A Peruvian mummy. (Thinkstock)
How do you mummify a body?
Lexile

You asked us, how do you mummify a body?
 
Assuming simple curiosity is driving your question, the answer depends on whom you ask.
 
The ancient Egyptians would say if you had enough wealth and status, special priests could preserve you for all eternity. First, they pull out your brain and internal organs, except your heart, which stays. Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt. Most of your organs would be preserved in jars, but your body would get wrapped up in strips of linen and layers of resin before being sealed in a coffin.
 
Their technique worked pretty well, but they weren't the first to go mummy. Two thousand years earlier, the Chinchorro of Chile and Peru were in the habit of skinning, dismembering and disemboweling bodies before putting them back together with sticks, straw and plant fibers. Then they'd paint the bodies.
 
More recently, nature did the dirty work for the Inca, who made sacrifices to their gods by bringing kids high up into the Andes Mountains to die. The kids' bodies then became mummified by the dry atmosphere and extreme cold.
 
Peat bogs, glaciers and deserts can have the same effect. The oxygen-deprived acidic, cold, hot and dry conditions of these environments desiccate bodies and stop decomposition au natural.
 
So basically, take your pick. Wait, I mean, not really though, right? 

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did Egyptians use salt?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (38)
  • carlosp-6-bar
    5/11/2016 - 07:01 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt to dry out your body because special priests thought that they could preserve you for all eternity. This is stated in the third paragraph."The ancient Egyptians would say if you had enough wealth and status, special priests could preserve you for all eternity. First, they pull out your brain and internal organs, except your heart, which stays. Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt. Most of your organs would be preserved in jars, but your body would get wrapped up in strips of linen and layers of resin before being sealed in a coffin." This shows why they put salt on the Egyptian bodies when the were wrapped up.
    This article is cool because I never knew that they put salt on there bodies or that they take out there organs so I learned something new from this.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    5/11/2016 - 07:16 p.m.

    Egyptians used salt to slow down the decompositions of the bodies. The article states, "The ancient Egyptians would say if you had enough wealth and status, special priests could preserve you for all eternity. First, they pull out your brain and internal organs, except your heart, which stays. Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt. Most of your organs would be preserved in jars, but your body would get wrapped up in strips of linen and layers of resin before being sealed in a coffin." This shows that they believed you should be treated well even when you are dead. They did this by preserving the body. Salt worked extremely well because it dried the body out. The Egyptians also had lots of salt which made it easy and effective to use it.

  • tylerl-ver
    5/11/2016 - 07:34 p.m.

    They used salt to dry out the body.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    5/11/2016 - 07:46 p.m.

    Egyptian's would use salt to preserve the body even more. They preserve the organs except for the heart in jars. This technique of salting something works like salting meat. It dries up the substance, but keeps it intact and preserved. This article was interesting because when I was learning about Ancient Greece and Rome I to thought about how the bodies stayed in tacked, and now I know. This article surprised me because it is crazy that people sacrificed children in order to please their god(s).

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    5/11/2016 - 10:27 p.m.

    Egyptians used salt because salt is commonly used to preserve perishable goods, in this case, dead bodies. In the article's middle, it states,"they dry out your body with a kind of salt" (paragraph 6). Throughout history, salt has been used to slow the process of decay, as well as to dry out items. Egyptians used salt to mummify bodies because salt both dries out and helps to preserve meat and other goods.

    I found this article intriguing because I love to learn about ancient civilizations, especially Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and finding out more about the Egyptian mummification system furthers my interest in the subject.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 12:18 a.m.

    Egyptians used salt because salt is a preservative spice. It would make sense that they would use that to preserve the bodies. The article states,"Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt. "This shows that they dry out your body using salt. They dry out the body to preserve it for as long as possible. I was interested in this article because I like to learn about the ancient Egyptians and the mummies. I was surprised by this article because I did not know you could preserve a body for thousands of years.

  • meredithh-nic
    5/12/2016 - 08:18 a.m.

    Egyptians use salt to mummify bodies because, it dries out the body. They also might put salt in jars with your organs. They preserve most organs in a jar that go into the coffin. Overall the purpose of using the salt is to just dry out bodies.

  • calebb-nic
    5/12/2016 - 12:12 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt because it would dry out your body. Also it preserved your body. Finally it made it easier for the egyptians wrap in linen.

  • collinf-2-bar
    5/12/2016 - 12:23 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt to dry out the body after taking out all the organs except the heart. "First, they pull out your brain and internal organs, except your heart, which stays. Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt."

    I found this article interesting because I've always wondered how bodies were mummified.

  • destenyn-nic
    5/12/2016 - 12:51 p.m.

    Egyptians use salt to dry out your body. This keeps it mummified, then the article said "but your body would get wrapped up in strips of linen and layers of resin before being sealed in a coffin". They also preserve your internal organs in jar. Weird, right!?

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