For today’s continued lesson on Ancient Egypt, we’re going to focus on something they were really well-known for, mummies! When someone died in Ancient Egypt, their body was mummified. This was because the Egyptians believed in life after death and they thought that those who died would still need their bodies. So the mummification process was a way to preserve the body. There were often lots of steps required to make a mummy, but the most important thing to know is that they wrapped up the body in strips of cloth, like this.
While the people wrapped the body, usually priests, they would leave amulets throughout the wrappings. Amulets were small objects or charms that the Egyptians thought would protect the body. Often, they were either carved symbols or symbols painted on rocks. The symbols often looked something like these, and they would be placed on the mummy like this.
These symbols were incredibly important. The cross with a hole is called an ankh, and to the Egyptians, it meant life. The Eye of Horus was used for protection. The kneeling woman with wings was called Ma’at, and that meant order and justice. All of these symbols would have been included in the mummification process. This made the mummies very colorful! Can you create a mummy full of colorful amulets? Or do you think that you can make an amulet worthy of an Egyptian mummy? You can use clay to create a shaped amulet, or you can paint on a nice flat rock like I did!
Since we are talking about the process of mummification, let’s go over what some of the words mean! Anubis was the Egyptian god of the dead, which meant that the Egyptians believed that he helped them with the mummification process. He is often pictured with the body of a man and the head of a jackal, or a wild dog. Hieroglyphics were Ancient Egyptian letters, and they were often written down on a special paper called papyrus! This paper was then included in the place where the body was buried, called a tomb. Often these tombs were filled with letters and gold and all sorts of goods that the Egyptians thought the body would need in the afterlife. So now that you know some of the important words, lets see if you can find them!
The priests would be sure to wrap the mummy really tight, putting amulets in between the layers of wrapping. Once they had finished wrapping the mummy, they would put a funerary mask on the mummy. Usually it was gold, beautiful, and really heavy! Now since we can’t make one of those, but I’m sure you want to try out your mummy skills, I have a couple activities that you can try! First, I have a mummy mask that you can wear! That is available Right Here! Or you can try to make your own mummy! All you need is some cardboard or card-stock and some white yarn. (Although you could also add your own amulets!) Detailed instructions for that are available Here.
When it comes to Ancient Egypt, one thing you should know is that they loved their pets! Especially their cats! Now this meant that the Egyptians wanted to be sure that that could take their furry friends with them into the afterlife. So the Egyptians would also mummify cats, among other animals, after they had died to ensure that they got to see them again.They always made their mummified cats look pretty and protected them with amulets as well! Do you think you could make a mummified cat? Well, if you have an empty toilet paper roll, some gold paint, and a black marker, I know you can! All you have to do is bend the top of the tube to make the ears, then paint and decorate your cat!
Now that you know what a mummy is and how its made, I bet you’ve worked up quite an appetite! So why don’t you grab mom or dad and have them help you to make your own mummy-inspired meal! These delicious Crescent Mummy Dogs will be the perfect end to our lesson on Ancient Egyptian Mummification! Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for “The Pharaoh! A Big House…?”