The Ancient Egyptians believed that the bodies of the dead must be preserved if their souls were to live on in the after-world. The mummification of corpses was therefore an essential requirement of Egyptian religion. This text provides a survey of current knowledge about the preservation of corpses in Egyptian Antiquity, from the simple embalming procedures practiced during the earlier dynasties to the highly sophisticated techniques developed over more than three millennia of Ancient Egyptian culture. In this volume the mummies are examined in the context of Egyptian funerary ritual, with special attention accorded to mummy masks and cases, as well as the amulets and other artefacts that were buried with the deceased and to be seen only by the souls of the dead. The recent history of the Egyptian mummies, from their discovery by Europeans to modern techniques of computer analysis, is a particular feature of the book. In the baroque period, mummies were included in cabinets of curiosities by rich dilettantes and royalty alike, often to be treated with little or no respect for their spiritual significance or cultural value.
In the 19th century hundreds of Egyptian mummies were plundered from tombs and sold in western Europe. This book shows how radiological technology, antibody research, DNA and simulated reconstruction, and spatial analyses through three-dimensional computer images have expanded our knowledge of people who died thousands of years ago and of their everyday life in Ancient Egypt.show more