Friday, March 4, 2011

Mummies, Mummies, everywhere!

I have found some great projects for Xman's Egypt presentation. One of the ones we are doing today? Making mummies. We bought some WWF guys (they were bigger than GI Joe) and we'll be using an apple. Since we can't dessicated (dry out) our toys, we will simulate that step - but to get the point across of what this step did to human bodies we'll be doing it with an apple slice.

First the kids used this Interactive Website - How Mummies are Made

Apple Slice Dessication -
  1. Cut an apple into quarters.  
  2. In a measuring cup, measure 1/3 cup of baking soda, fill the cup the rest of the way with table salt.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients - this is very similar to Natron, the compound used by the Egyptians.
  4. Place one apple quarter in a jar or cup
  5. Fill the cup with the salt mixture, making sure the apple is covered completely.
  6. In another cup place another quarter of the apple - leave it uncovered (this will show the comparison in decomposition)
  7. Place both cups in an out of the way place for about a week.

Steps to Making a Mummy -
  1. Delivery of the corpse for mummification
  2. Removing the Organs. The heart remains in the mummy, the brain is destroyed and removed through a nostril, the stomach, liver, lungs and intestines were washed and placed in Natron for dessication - these preserved organs were each placed in a special jar called a Canopic Jar which is sealed with a carved top representing which organ was inside.
  3. The body was covered in Natron for 40 days to remove all water.
  4. The body was then washed and anointed with oils while the Priests chanted and sang blessings.
  5. The body was stuffed with herbs, spices, linen, sawdust and salt - this helps the body have normal proportions instead of just looking like a shrunken raisin.
  6. The head and neck were wrapped in linen
  7. The fingers and toes were wrapped in linen
  8. The rest of the body was wrapped in linen (all of these wrappings also included little amulets being wrapped as well.)
  9. The linen was sealed with a resin (like tree sap)
  10. The face of the mummy was painted with gold to represent the kings face
  11. The mummy was then placed in 3 coffins which (after the funeral) were then lowered into the sarcophagus.
So most of this was simulated by the boys -
Step 2 - we pretended to remove the organs
Step 3 - we covered our 'body' for 40 minutes (1 minute = 1 Egyptian day)
Step 7 - we had to simulate since our dolls didn't have fingers and toes.
Step 9 - We sealed our linen with a home made version of Plaster of Paris - 1 cup warm water and 2 cups flour (we made sure our mixture was a bit more watery than regular glue so our cheese cloth strips could be hardened.)

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