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 (39)
  • aidanp-1-bar
    5/12/2016 - 07:11 p.m.

    Salt naturally takes in moisture. So, they dry out the skin with the salt. If they didn't dry it out then the body will be moist and plants and bugs could eat it away. In paragraph 3 it says "Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt."

    I found this article interesting because it talked about something I never thought of before.

  • dianner-2-bar
    5/12/2016 - 08:22 p.m.

    Egyptians used salt because it would dry your body. I found this article very interesting because as stated in the article " sacrifices to their gods by bringing kids high up into the Andes Mountains to die." I also found this article very disturbing because in the article " 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." I am really wondering why they painted the body but I am guessing it was a really religion thing going on.

  • audreyv-4-bar
    5/12/2016 - 08:42 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt to mummify the bodies, because it would dry the body out. ". Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt." If the bodies were to stay moist, it might smell, and ruin their attempt to preserve yourself. I found this article very interesting, because of how different cultures do the same thing in different ways. For example, the Incans and Egyptians both believe in mummifying the body, but each culture does it differently.

  • brycec-ver
    5/12/2016 - 08:51 p.m.

    I thought that this article was very interesting. I personally had no idea that there were so many ways to become a mummy. It also grossed me out some!

  • lucasddd-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 10:21 p.m.

    Egyptians use salt because it was used to dry out the body. One paragraph states "Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt."
    I didn't know they used salt, and I use salt all the time for food.

  • maggiec-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 10:26 p.m.

    Egyptians use salt to mummify bodies. The salt would dry out the body before they would store them. In paragraph three the article says "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 is how the ancient Egyptians would store people of wealth and status. I thought this article was very interesting and I've always wondered how they used to preserve dead bodies before all of the technology and things we use today.

  • samuelh-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 10:49 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt to dry out the body

  • maliab-2-bar
    5/12/2016 - 11:38 p.m.

    Egyptians used salts for, "Then they dry out your body with a kind of salt," paragraph two states. The Egyptians would put your organs and brain in jars and after they dry out your body, they wrapped it with a layer of linen and a layer of resin to seal it. This article is interesting because I thought the Egyptians were the first and only people to mummify people, but 2000 years earlier, people in Chile and Peru did it first.

  • gabriellek-1-bar
    5/13/2016 - 12:05 a.m.

    The Egyptians use salt to dry out your body. Drying out your body was part of the special process to preserve your body once you had died but that was only if you were wealthy enough to afford it. I am surprised that people would take their children up to the mountains to let them die as a sacrifice to their god. I am interested in the fact that people would want to preserve their body after they are dead, I am pretty sure no one is going to see them so why did people spend time, money, and effort to do this?

  • heatherm-4-bar
    5/13/2016 - 01:27 a.m.

    To mummify a body, you would pull out the internal organs, and brain, leaving the heart in. to get the dried out texture they used a specific type of salt. The salt gets the dried out feeling. I chose this article because I am watching "the pyramid" right now

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