Thursday, October 27, 2011

Inside Ancient Egypt, by Sharon Powell, 2011

Mysterious wonders surround a civilization more than three thousand years old. Great archeological finds reveal the truth of ancient man. Communication for the Egyptians was devised through a pictorial alphabet known as Hieroglyphs, and was used as a means to preserve their heritage to share with the world. Inscribed upon ancient stone are the scenes of great Pharaoh’s and their queen, or perhaps the farmer reaping the rewards of his harvest, or the astrologer; captivated by the twinkling of the stars.

Left behind and buried beneath mounds of earth and sand were beautiful works of art. Hidden treasures bearing the story of life were captured for all to enjoy. Precious gemstone and Jewelry hidden within magnificent tombs were left behind to defend the memory of rulers seeking the truths of eternal life.
Stretched far across the desserts of Egypt are miles of sand and excessive dry climates helping to preserve much of what was used in everyday life. Dead bodies were wrapped in linen bandages to protect the remains and then buried within the richness of natural resource as the art of mummification was passed onto modern man.  

Assuring your place in the afterlife was equally important to the Egyptians. It was believed the spirit of life lives on forever, and only the body succumbed to rot. Ancient Egyptian customs for burial can be better understood through the process of mummification. Preparing the dead for burial was a significant ritual lasting for more than thirty days. The body first needed to be drained of all fluids, which was done by severing the main arteries until the blood and water of life were expelled from the corpse. The internal organs were then removed and discarded; excepting the heart which was quite often placed inside the tomb.  
The morticians would then “coat” the body with a salt like substance found in near-by mountainous terrains known as natron. Natron is a fine white powdery substance used to remove moisture from the body. Coupled with the dry climates and Natron, the body was preserved much in the same way as today’s dehydration processes. The cavity was then filled with spices, herbs, and fine oils for the Pharaoh and queen to use once reaching their destination into the afterlife. Wrapped in fine linen bandages and decorated with jewels and precious gems, the ancients were laid to rest inside sculptured tombs prepared especially for them.

The spirit of the dead would soon transform itself into the spirit of Ka and Ba. These spirits were believed to be the memory of the deceased person where consciousness and individualism provided the magic powers needed to pass through stone by day then, peacefully return to rest at night. The coffins pictured above were placed inside the tomb and discovered thousands of years later. Although technology was not as advanced as today, the Egyptians were highly intelligent and held the key to the mysteries surrounding the great pyramids.

 Kent R. Weeks,Reeves, Wilkerson, Thames and Hudson, Valley of the Kings, London, New York, NY 1996.
 Neils Pemberton, Treasures of the Pharaohs
Lila Perl, The Ancient Egyptians
C.N. Reeves, The Complete Valley of the Kings Tombs and Treasures
Donald Ryan, Ancient Egypt, Penguin Group, New York, NY 2002.
Image, Chicago Field Museum, Chicago IL., Sharon Powell

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