May 17, 2024


Almost all of us are familiar with the word Mummy. The word mummy really comes to mind when the pyramids of Egypt, the name of Pharaoh and the desert come to mind..! But not only in Egypt, mummies were in vogue in different parts of the world. From Siberia to New Zealand, from Peru to China, from South Africa to North America, natural and deliberately preserved mummies have been found in corners of the world.

Let’s know some unknown facts about mummy.

What is Mummy actually?

A mummy is a corpse that has died or been preserved by human technology or from natural destruction and decay. In other words, a mummy is an exhumed body that has been artificially or naturally preserved from decomposition and natural disasters.

Types of mummies

Mummies are generally of two types. Anthropogenic and spontaneous mummies. Anthropogenic mummies refer to mummies that were created for preservation purposes, usually for religious reasons. And spontaneous mummies were formed naturally in extreme heat or extreme cold or in closed swamps.

Source of mummy found

According to most researchers, the origin of mummies is ancient Egypt. However, mummies had been made in Chinchero in northern Chile and southern Peru by a thousand years before the ancient Egyptian civilization. Mummification has been practiced for thousands of years to honor and preserve the dead, including the Incas, Australian primitive, ancient European civilizations and many others.


Apart from Egypt, mummies were also found in Libya. A mummy was discovered in 1999 in Baviaanskloof Forest, South Africa by Dr. Johan Binneman. Which is about 2000 years old.


Most mummies found in Asia are accidental. The mummies were mainly found in the Tarim Valley and deserts like Iran. However, these mummies decomposed very quickly after exhumation. Apart from this, the presence of mummies has also been noticed in China. The corpse of China’s Xin Zhui or Lady Dai has been mummified.

North America

The oldest and best preserved mummy in North America is believed to be ‘Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi’ or “Man Found Long Ago”. Eight mummies were found in Greenland in 1972. Among them were a six-month-old baby, a four-year-old boy and 6 women of various ages. Who are about 500 years old. Among the mummies discovered in Mexico, the Guanajuato mummy is famous.

South America

The world’s oldest mummy has been discovered in South America. The earliest Chinchorro mummies date back to the fifth century BC. Inca mummies are found in relatively cold regions of South America. These mummies are called “ice mummies”. Mummy Juanita was discovered in the Ampato Peak of the Andes Mountains.

The body of this mummy was frozen in such a way that the mummy’s skin, muscles and internal organs were intact. Besides, mummies have been found in many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Italy.

The methods by which mummies were made

The process of mummification involved a long ritual and the process of mummification was performed in several steps. These works were done with great secrecy. Because the process was as gruesome as it was unhealthy.

Mummification began on the fourth day after a person’s death and continued for about 70 days.

First the corpse was washed and the Egyptians used Nile water for this washing.

Later, the nose of the dead person is pierced and the mucus and brain inside the head are taken out.

After that, the left side of the corpse’s abdomen was cut and the navel and various decayed parts of the body such as lungs, kidneys, stomach, etc. were taken out and the cut parts were cleaned with the help of alcohol made from dates and various plants and spices were introduced inside the body.

But the heart was kept inside the body. Because they believed that the center of all knowledge in a person is the heart. Without a heart man cannot go to the grave or heaven. A person’s success or failure was determined by measuring this heart rate.

After amputation, the abdomen was carefully stitched up. If there is air inside the stomach, there is a risk of the dead body rotting. So the belly stitching was done with great care and precision.

The organs are then salted and dried. When all were thoroughly dried, plant material and various spices were applied. After 40 days, the dried organs were wrapped in linen cloth and packed in canopic jars. The lid of each pot was modeled after the four sons of the god Horus.

Salt was cleansed from the body and oil was applied to dry skin.

The corpse was then wrapped in a linen bandage in about 20 steps for 15/20 days.

A death mask was then placed over the bandages.

The bandaged corpse was placed in a designed mummy-box or coffin tightly bound with linen.

Why were mummies made?

The process and purpose of mummification differ in different civilizations and cultures. However, the real purpose was to honor and preserve the corpse.

The Egyptians placed great importance on the afterlife. They believed that after death they would remain in heaven as long as their bodies were preserved. So they started making mummies to preserve mortal bodies.

According to them, the purpose of mummification is to help the soul and body of the deceased enter the afterlife. At first only kings were mummified because the Egyptians believed that kings acted as kings of the dead after they died. Later, however, the elite and wealthy people of ancient Egypt were also mummified.

Some mummies were created by accident. For example, in Guanajuato, Mexico, more than 100 mummies were found that were not embalmed. Due to the temperature of the area or the abundance of sulfur and other minerals in the soil of the area, the bodies turned into mummies.

Different methods of mummification of Buddhist monks

Buddhist monks used stunning methods to transform themselves into mummies. After years of fasting, they used to eat foods that destroyed the human body and made the body fat free. After such a condition they would consume some poisonous substance which would cause them to vomit and expel the watery parts of the body with the vomiting.

This poisonous drink also protected the body from insects after death. In the last step of the process the monks waited for their own death and mummification. They would die, but not all of them would be mummified in the process. However, a 200-year-old mummy of a Buddhist monk was found in Mongolia.

Some Famous Mummies


It is the most famous of the six mummies excavated from the Egyptian desert in the late 19th century. These six mummies were preserved naturally, no artificial processes were applied. In the hot and dry climate of the desert, they turn into mummies. It is named Ginger because of the reddish color of its hair.


Hatshepsut was a powerful female pharaoh. Her ruled Egypt for two decades. Her burial site was found in 1902 but the sarcophagus was empty. She was later found in another tomb with her mother’s mummy.

Pharaoh Tutankhamen

This pharaoh started ruling Egypt when he was only 9 years old. His mummy is very important to archaeologists. Several death and curse stories are associated with this mummy discovery. His tomb has been looted many times. Because it was full of riches.

Ramesses II

Many historians call him Egypt’s most powerful pharaoh. He ruled Egypt for six decades. He is said to have lived 90 years and gave birth to 100 children. His mummy was found in 1881 in the Deir-el-Bahari area on the banks of the Nile.

Lady Dai (Xin Zhui)

Xin Zhui was the wife of a wealthy man in the Han Dynasty. She died at the age of 50. Probably 178 to 145 BC. Her mummy was so well preserved that it looked like a fresh corpse. An autopsy was performed on her. Her skin was flexible, various organs were intact, her arms and legs could be moved.

Food eaten before death is found in her stomach. And red A+ (positive) group blood is found in her arteries. She was clothed with 22 silk and linen cloths and tied with 9 silk ribbons. This is why it is so well preserved.

Products or medicines named Mummy to Mumiya

Some Europeans believed that medicine made from mummies could cure various human ailments. For this they started bringing mummies from Egypt. A product called Mummia is made from mummy. which were made by druggists. Both the rich and the poor have been using this medicine for centuries.

In the 12th century apothecaries used mummies for their medicinal properties. For the next 500 years mummies were considered medicine. When antibiotic medicines were not developed, mummy poultices were used for headaches, stomachaches or other ailments.

Doctors relied on the skulls, bones and flesh of mummies to treat epidemics such as malaria and plague. Although the doctors are reluctant to accept, can medicine be made from the body of a dry mummy?

But great people have also been influenced by this drug. For example, when King Charles II of England had a heart attack, he took medicine made from human skulls. Until the 19th century, doctors used human skulls to treat anything from neuro ailments.


Apart from being considered a symbol of religion, mummies have become part of literature. Movies have been made based on the concept of Mummy based on various stories and novels.

Also, being an important part of the archaeological material of various countries, mummies indicate important aspects of the socio-cultural-industrial-economy of the region thousands of years ago. Therefore, the administration and citizens of every country must be very aware of mummy preservation.

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