Ancient dating rituals

This ritual is specifically set out in two papyri, probably copied from the same source and both dated to the Roman period.They are the Papyrus Boulaq 3, now in the Cairo Museum, and Papyrus 5158 in the Louvre.

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In Egypt, and particularly ancient Egypt, there was a lack of cultivatable land and so the early Egyptians chose to bury their dead in shallow pit-graves on the edges of the desert, where the heat of the sun and the dryness of the sand created the natural mummification process.

Even this natural process produced remarkably well preserved bodies.

Mummification of bodies was originally a natural process in Egypt and elsewhere, where the dryness of the sand in which the body was buried, the heat or coldness of the climate, or the absence of air in the burial helped to produce unintentional or "natural" mummies.

These processes have produced mummies not only in Egypt, but in South America, Mexico, the Alps, Central Asia, the Canary Islands, the Aleutian Islands and Alaska.

In addition to classical texts and references, a surprising amount of modern scientific research has been conducted in regards to mummies. these have even included multidisciplinary studies of mummified remains which have supplied new information about the process of mummification itself, as well as disease, diet, living and working conditions and even family relationships.

For example, the use of scanning electron microscopes has been used to identify insects that attack mummies, histology and electron microscopy have supplied evidence about the success or failure of individual mummification techniques, and thin layer and gas liquid chromatography have isolated and characterized the substances that were applied to the mummy bandages.

Our Sources and Research on Mummification What we know about Egyptian mummification comes from a number of sources, including the archaeological evidence provided by the mummies themselves, paleopathological studies of the bodies, painted and carved representations in tomb scenes and elsewhere that depict some stages of the mummification process, and textual references in Egyptian and other classical era accounts.

However, there exists no known Egyptian description of the technical processes involved in mummification.

No paintings or carvings provide an extant, complete record of mummification, though some wall scenes in the tombs of Thoy and Amenemope (tombs 23 and 41 on the West Bank at Thebes, respectively) and vignettes painted on some coffins and canopic jars show some stages in the mummification process.

However, the earliest known accounts of mummification that are relatively complete occur in the writings of two specific Greek historians (Herodotus from the fifth century BC and Diodorus Siculus from the first century BC).

Often, these early natural mummified bodies retained skin tissue and hair, along with a likeness of the person's appearance when alive.

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