Thousand-year misunderstanding: Ancient Egyptians mummified bodies not to preserve the body but for this completely different purpose

Egyptian mummies have always been an important testament to human civilization since ancient times and have been the subject of research of historians and scientists for thousands of years. It has long been believed that mummification technology was invented to preserve the bodies of the deceased. Indeed, thanks to mummification, ancient bodies from thousands of years ago still retain a certain integrity, resisting the laws of natural decomposition.

It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used mummification as a way to preserve the body after death. However, researchers from the University of Manchester’s Manchester Museum in the UK have shown that this elaborate burial technique actually serves another purpose: as a way to “guide” the deceased to God. St.

A thousand-year misunderstanding: The ancient Egyptians mummified bodies not to preserve the body, but for a completely different purpose - Photo 1.

Up to now, modern people have not been able to decipher the ancient Egyptian mummification tricks

Campbell Price, the museum’s expert on ancient Egypt and Sudan, told Live Science that long ago, the idea that mummification is to preserve the body has taken root. This idea originated with Western researchers in the Victorian era. Scientists at the time believed that the ancient Egyptians preserved their corpses in a similar way to how people preserved fish. Their reasoning is quite simple, as both processes contain the same ingredient: salt.

However, the salt that the ancient Egyptians used was different from the salt used to preserve the catch of the day. Called natron, this naturally occurring mineral is a mixture of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate that is abundant around lake beds near the Nile and is used as a key ingredient in the embalming process.

“We also know that natron was used in temple ceremonies and also in the construction of statues of the gods,” Price said. “It’s used for cleaning.”

Price says another material commonly used with mummies is incense, which was also used as a gift to the gods: “Look at frankincense and myrrh – they’re in the story of God. Jesus of Christianity. In the history of ancient Egypt, we discovered that they were also gifts given to the gods by the ancients. Even the ancient Egyptian word for incense is ‘senetjer’, which literally means ‘to make sacred’. When you burn incense in a temple – the house of a god, it makes the space sacred. When using agarwood resin to embalm, the body becomes a divine being. That is the thought of the ancients: put spices on the body to “sanctify”, not necessarily for the purpose of preserving it.

A thousand-year misunderstanding: The ancient Egyptians mummified bodies not to preserve the body, but for this completely different purpose - Photo 2.

The coffin of Tasheriankh, a 20-year-old woman from the city of Akhmim who died around 300 BC

Like the ancient Egyptians, Victorian Egyptologists also believed that the dead would need their bodies in the afterlife. This concept adds credibility to the misconception about mummification.

“There is an obsession born of Victorian ideas about the need for a body to be perfected in the afterlife,” says Price. This includes the removal of internal organs. I think mummification is a really deeper ritual, essentially turning the body into a god statue because the dead person has been transformed.”

Source: Live Science

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