Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife when someone died. Mummification helped someone reach the afterlife as they thought that, in order to have an afterlife, the dead person would have to repossess his or her body. Egyptians believed that the only way to do this was if the body was recognisable.
The methods of embalming, or treating the dead body, that the ancient Egyptians used is called mummification. Using special processes, the Egyptians removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay.
First of all, they cleaned the body then made a cut on the left side near the tummy. They removed all internal organs and then let them dry, before placing them inside canopic jars. The heart was placed back inside the body, then the body was rinsed with wine and spices. They then covered the corpse with salt for 70 days. After the first 40 days, they stuffed the body with linen or sand to give it a more human shape. After the 70 days, they wrapped the body from head to toe in bandages, then placed it in a sarcophagus (a type of box like a coffin).
Although hieroglyphics are Egyptian, the word hieroglyphics is Greek. “Hiero” means “holy” and “glyphics” means “marks” or “writings” – so the word means “holy writings“. The Egyptians believed there was great power in a name. If someone’s name was remembered then he or she would survive in the afterlife. That’s why pharaohs’ names were written in hieroglyphics in their tombs!
We had a go of writing our own names in hieroglyphics. Take a look!