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, before 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, because 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 (13)
  • jacksonb-kut
    5/12/2016 - 07:55 a.m.

    This is actually a surprisingly cool article. It also isn't absolutely disgusting, which is good. I prefer the article over the video, even though they are basically the same thing.

  • erino-6-bar
    5/12/2016 - 09:09 p.m.

    Egyptians used salt on corpses to help preserve the body. Once all of the organs, excluding the heart, are removed, the Egyptians would "dry out [the] body with a kind of salt." Drying out the body helped to stop bacteria, fungi, and insects from eating away at the body's flesh and decomposition would progress much slower.

    I thought this was an interesting article because I used to be interested in how the process of being mummified works.

  • maxwellt-2-bar
    5/20/2016 - 01:37 a.m.

    The Egyptians used salt to mummify bodies because of its preservative properties. Salt can "desiccate bodies and stop decomposition", the central idea of the practice of mummification. I chose this article because it had a cool picture to go with it. And also because I may or may not have a few corpses laying around to try this on... ????

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    5/23/2016 - 01:31 p.m.

    I love that we can preserve people. It helps us understand what people were like in ancient times.

  • gabrielp-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:25 p.m.

    This is cool B

  • jadeng-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:30 p.m.

    they used salt to dry out the blood and organs

  • julietr-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:32 p.m.

    The Egyptians used salt because it can preserve the bodies.

  • hannaha-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:32 p.m.

    they used salt to dry up the body

  • martham-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:34 p.m.

    Mummies always fascinate me! They're important for us, because it gives us the ideas of how the people of then looked like. For example, Egyptian mummies. Many people when they think of pharaohs and what not, they would think their white. But there are people who debunk that argument by saying they were black. Well there are mummies and we can somewhat get an idea of how they look :D

  • alexb-edg
    6/07/2016 - 03:34 p.m.

    it makes the bodies not have bacteria

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