It was finally time to learn about the mummification process…this is not for the faint of heart! Where to begin? Oh yes, we need a dead body. No one wanted to volunteer so it was time for an art lesson (you knew I would find a way to incorporate art didn’t you!) Form (a 3 dimensional figure) is one of the elements of art and so we made a body out of packing tape.
Assembling the body wasn’t easy.
But it turned out fabulous! The kids named him Matt the Mummy;-)
As you can see we stuffed (I mean carefully placed) all Matt’s organs in the right spots. Did you notice a few of my students are missing? I told you it is not for the faint of heart!
With our canopic jars ready to go we are now ready for the embalming.
We brought Matt’s body to the tent known as ‘ibu’ or the ‘place of purification’. There the embalmers washed his body with good-smelling palm wine and rinsed it with water from the Nile. (Some how I convinced the skittish students to participate.)
- Insert a hook through a hole near the nose and pull out part of the brain.
- Make a cut on the left side of the body near the tummy.
- Remove all internal organs.
- Let the internal organs dry.
- Place the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver inside canopic jars.
It was then time for the weighing of the heart ceremony. The ancient Egyptians believed that to enter your afterlife, your heart had to be light. You gained a light heart by doing many good deeds during your lifetime. After you died, on your way to your afterlife, you had to travel through the Hall of Maat. The god Anubis weighed your heart. The god Thoth recorded the findings. And the god Ammut (with the head of a crocodile) stood by. If your heart was as a light as a feather, you passed Maat’s test, and entered your afterlife. But, if your heart was heavy, Ammut would move swiftly and gobble you up.
It was pretty intense as we waited to see where the scale would tip…
Poor Matt wasn’t as good as he should have been! (Mitchell surprised us all when he actually ate the paper heart!) With the body prepared it was time to wrap him up.
Egyptians placed amulets among a mummy’s bandages to ensure the deceased a safe, healthy, and productive afterlife.
Without a word from me the kids made a procession of placing Matt the Mummy in the corner of our room, there to rest peacefully (or as peacefully as one can rest in our classroom!)