Mummies – Ghosts Of The Past

A mummy from the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Oklahoma.

Image Credit: Flickr User kimadababe, via CC

Are mummies really ghosts of the past? Well, not at all. The pictures of mummies might look a little scary, and many movies project them as haunted, but there is nothing to be afraid of them. In fact, mummies are really helpful to us.  Mummies are bodies of an animal or human preserved for many years. They give us a deep insight into how people and civilizations were many years ago. By many we mean thousands or millions! 😉

Most of the times people refer to mummies as bodies that were preserved deliberately by people in ancient times. Ancient people did deliberately embalm the body of the dead with chemicals for the body to last forever. But, naturally preserved mummies are also not uncommon. Sometimes the body gets preserved just by chance due to extreme weather conditions like extreme cold (ice mummies), very low humidity, or due to absolute vacuum.

Mummies were very important part of religious beliefs of Egyptians. They preserved the body of their Pharaohs and important people by embalming them with special lotions and medicines. Then they wrapped it in white linen cloth. This process of natural or deliberate embalming is called mummification.

Priest with a jackal mask doing mummification in ancient Egypt

Image Credit: Flickr User andrevanbortel, via CC

Egyptians believed in afterlife and thus believed that the body of a person would be needed by him in his next life. Ancient Incas believed in mummification too. Many Inca mummies have been discovered in excellent condition all across Peru, South America.

Gold Mask of Tutankhamun

Image Credit: Flickr User matsuyuki, via CC

Discovering mummies has proved very informative for us today. Since we can’t go back in time, until the time machine is invented, we can not find about how people in ancient era were. By studying the mummies ,tombs and pyramids, we can very well find out about the cultures, believes and traditions of people that lived in the past. After detailed study of bones we can also find out about their health, diet and diseases. Mummies are linen bundles of information and there is nothing eerie about them!!

One of the most famous mummy discovered is that of King Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh in the the 13th century. Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 and is the  most  royal Egyptian tomb ever found. The most stunning bit is that even after hundreds of years, the mummy was found  almost intact !!

4 comments

    • Dear Esha, Good question! Very well preserved mummies have not only their bones but even their organs preserved. Mummy doctors check these preserved organs(lungs, stomachs etc) to see if they are diseased or healthy.

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