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Mummified infant, Egypt, 2000-101 BCE

Mummification was a complicated burial process common in ancient Egypt. First the internal organs were removed, apart from the heart, which was considered to be the seat of the mind and the emotions. The lungs, liver, intestines and stomach were placed in separate canopic jars, to be buried with the body. The body was then dried with natron for forty days. Once dried the fingers, toes, arms and legs were wrapped individually. The whole body was then wrapped in cloth with amulets and items to help the deceased see, hear, speak, taste and eat in the afterlife.

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    Glossary: human remains

    term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'

    Glossary: mummification

    No description.

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: canopic jar

    Stone or ceramic jars in which the ancient Egyptians preserved the internal organs of a deceased person as part of their burial practices.

    Glossary: mummy

    A corpse which has been preserved through natural or artificial methods, often for religious reasons.