Lauren Mosley: Mummies

As I went back through to do new research on these bodies and varies things from their lives that I could find information on, all I could think of was how in the world do we know these things! How we can translate the word Bast to learn it means devour and perfume. These are ancient languages we are dealing with, how can we even figure that the word is Bast let alone to be able to translate it. I know I am very behind when it comes to history, no pun intended but history isn’t my favorite and for the amount that I had to go though I learned a lot and now have a whole new set of questions. The theme here is knowledge and technology because the amount of both that were poured into these subjects from history to give us the facts that we have about their lives and culture is unbelievable. I learned not only that these people turned wild cats into domestic creators but that also evolved physically through the process. I learned about their religious practices, their god’s, and their sacrifices. I learned geography because people figured out where cities were specifically around the Nile River and what was the purpose of each side. And finally a piece of information that really struck me was Karnak. The biggest religious building in the world but more importantly when they recreated this site, they said, “This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many wonders of the modern world and in its day must have been awe-inspiring” (1). And the fact what we can even know that about a building that only lasted until 100 AD is awe-inspiring to me.  But most importantly I learned about mummies which I found very interesting. They are so foreign to our culture today it’s hard not to find them fascinating. The prehistoric mummies were thought to have happened by an accident. They started in Egypt and the sand and air must have been preserved through the pits in sand. It wouldn’t be until 2600 BC that the practice would be on purpose. I have learned the purpose for the detailed burials: to send their souls into the afterlife. However, the process of creating a mummy can become extremely time consuming, up to seventy days and different people were designated to certain jobs. It starts with removing organs that would deteriorate quicker, such as the brain tissue through the nostrils. The heart was left because it was believed to be the center of the individual’s being while the others were placed in jars and buried with the body. Next, the body goes through a drying out process. This is accomplished through covering the body with natron, a type of salt, and putting it inside the body as well. The idea is that this will stop the body from decaying allowing us to examine today to determine the age of 3,000 years ago and what they might have looked like. Finally, linen cloth lines the bodies for preservation. Then a mask is placed on the face, a lot of the time, painted. Before buried in the tombs, they were placed in a coffin (2). And we wouldn’t know any of this if it wasn’t for the scientists that study them and the technology that they have to do their job.

1. "Karnak Temple." Discovering Ancient Egypt. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

2. "Egyptian Mummies." Encyclopedia Smithsonian:. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

This coffin is white with a green head. There were two types of cat made, the African wild cat and jungle cat, most of the coffins were for the wild cats. Cats were used as offerings to Bastet, the goddess of war. She was very popular and started off as the cat goddess and more on the wild side in fact because of her lion head. In the New Kingdom she represented the domestic cat with playfulness, affection, and grace. But she always had war characteristics with fierce and cunning behavior of a lion. In lower Egypt she was worshipped but specifically in Bubastis, the capital now in ruins. Her name alone associates itself with the words devour and perfume showing she is simultaneously a ‘sweet predator’ (1). Cats were considered sacred to her and if one was harmed you were unlucky and committed a crime against her because they were supposed to be incarnations of the goddess. These cats also protected the crops, killed small animals which prevented the spread of diseases, and even hunted with people to retrieve prey. The Valley of the Kings has an inscription, "You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; you are indeed the Great Cat," (2). As the jungle and African cat came together in a new breed they heavily evolved to meet new needs in their domesticated lifestyle. They became smaller and leaner, more colorful, smaller brains, and became more affectionate to humans. When they died they were dried, mummified and used for an offering to the goddess by her priests. These coffins could have been made of wood or even bronze. 1. "Ancient Egyptian Gods: Bast." (Bastet). N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. 2. "Cats in Ancient Egypt." Ancient Egypt Online:. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.
Mummy of Cleopatra: Cleopatra was from Thebes located on both sides of the Nile, the main on the east. The west was the city of the dead occupied by the king’s workers. The whole city was 36 square miles (1). She was the daughter of Candace. The writing on her coffin used to say she died 17 years old. The outer-shroud, made of wood, has a painting of a deceased woman (2). Originally the Egyptians buried bodies in holes in the desert because the sand would naturally dehydrate them quickly and leave them as mummies. Then they used coffins but learned they decay regardless of the sand. Finally they filled the bodies with embalming fluid and used linen to create mummification as we know it today. Inside, there was a comb and necklace with her, “Egyptians packed any and all things that they believed could possibly be useful to them in the afterlife” (3). In her chest there are packages which make up much of the weight of the mummy. They say her hip is dislocated and that arrested growth lines are no present, which is the result of “stress during bone development” (4). 1. Dorman, Peter F. "Thebes." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. 2. "Mummy of Cleopatra, Roman Period, British Museum, London, April 2014." Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 01 May 2016. 3. "UK - London - Bloomsbury: British Museum - Mummy of Cleopatra." Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 01 May 2016. 4. "Growth Arrest Lines | Radiology Reference Article | Radiopaedia.org." Radiopaedia Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2016.
Mummy board of Ankhefenmut Ankhefenmut is an Egyptian priest and a sculptor. He was a priest in the temple of Precinct Mut at Karnak. Mut was a goddess of both human and feline, a protective mother and lioness, the defender of Egypt. Because she could turn against her people if unhappy, their practices at the temple made sure to keep her content (1). Karnak translates to “most select of places” because it is a city of temples. These temples were for Amun, Khonsu, and Mut. Covering approximately 200 acres, “it is the largest religious building ever made” (2). Luxor is a mile and a half to the south of the Karnak between the two buildings for twenty-seven days they celebrated for fresh energy from Amun and the earth. They proceeded to preform rituals of bathing Amun’s statue and dressing it in gold jewellery. Karnak is part of thebes in the upper region of Egypt. This mummy is 3,000 years old and lived in the 21st Dynasty. He lived between 1069 and 945 BCE. When found, they originally thought it was a woman. He was thought to be 50 when he died. This coffin is very nicely decorated with pictures and prayers of protection in the afterlife. On the sides are mythological scenes all to protect him as well. On the head is the goddess Nephthys and it reads, “Nephthys, sister of a god, eye of Re, mistress of the necropolis in the West” (3). 1. "Tour Egypt :: The Temple Precinct of Mut at Karnak." The Temple Precinct of Mut at Karnak. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. 2. "Karnak Temple." Discovering Ancient Egypt. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. 3. "Ankhefenmut's Coffin." - Albany Institute of History and Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.
Mummy of Nesperennub He was part of the 22nd dynasty or 800 BC. In an Egyptian temple, he was a priest. Before being embalmed, he would have had all but his heart removed (1). In July of 2004, Fiona Proffitt wrote an article called ‘The Mummy Inside.’ In her article she explains that Nesperennub was brought to London in 1899 for examination but it could only go so far. They could not take the wrappings off of the body because of the damage it will do to the body and their research instead they used ‘3D visualization technology’ consisting of medical scanning and the use of computers. While computerized tomography have been used before this is first time they have used computers to create 3D images. Now they can remove linen virtually, turn the image, and see inside bones. They can confirm he died around 40 from his teeth, skull, and spine. They had thought he might have died from an illness because there’s a whole above his left eye. Now they think he had a brain tumor or tuberculosis. The most unique fact about his body is the clay bowl they found on his head that they believe has no religious value. John Taylor working on the body concludes it is from the embalmers trying to catch the resin. It became stuck and they created tears in his skin trying to remove it (2). 1. "Unlock the Secrets of Egyptian Priest Nesperennub." Lonely Travelog. N.p., 2013. Web. 02 May 2016. 2. "The Mummy Inside." Science. N.p., 2004. Web. 13 May 2016.
Mummy Mask of Hornedjitef At the temple of Amun at Karnak, he was a priest. Amun happened to be “one of the most powerful gods in ancient Egypt” (1). He was known as the King of Gods an air god with a ram’s head (2). He was buried at Thebes around 220 BC in a first layer and second layer coffin. They know he died at an older age because he had arthritis and osteoporosis through the use of CAT scans and x-rays. Like a helmet, his mask was put over a dead person’s head. The purpose of a mummy was to make sure the spirit made it to the afterlife. And in his case Nut, the sky goddess, is on the interior of his coffin. Rebirth is what this symbolically represents because he is in the womb of Nut (3). The funeral arrangements are very intricate even jewelry and amulets to resist evil. 1. "World History: Mummy of Hornedjitef." BBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016. 2. "Gods and Godesses." Gods and Godesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. 3. "Mummy of Hornedjitef." BBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.
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