Mummies of Ancient Egypt The: The History and Legacy of the Egyptians’ Mummification Process
Publisher: Charles River Editors
Today, Egyptian practices for death and the afterlife are intimately associated with mummies, which have both fascinated and terrified people for centuries. In countless movies, these preserved dead bodies from ancient times are often shown to be mystical creatures that come back from the dead to exact revenge. In the same vein, over the centuries, Egyptian society suggested that there was a tomb curse or “curse of the pharaohs” that ensured anyone who disturbed their tombs, including thieves and archaeologists, would suffer bad luck or even death. Naturally, there were warnings inscribed on the tombs of many buried Egyptians, typically made in an effort to deter grave robbers. One inscription dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE tomb of Khentika Ikhekhi reads, "As for all men who shall enter this my tomb... impure... there will be judgment... an end shall be made for him... I shall seize his neck like a bird... I shall cast the fear of myself into him."
In reality, Egyptian mummies have been preserved throughout time due to the meticulous process that created them, and while Egyptian mummies are the most famous, there are preserved bodies from all around the world from across history. Some of these mummies were accidents of nature, while others were more intentional, preserved through human intervention. In Egypt, the first mummies seem to have been natural, but after their discovery, mummification became a time-honored tradition in this ancient civilization.