Mummies are deceased human beings or other organisms whose organs and skin has been preserved either intentionally or unintentionally exposing them to very low humidity, chemicals, the absence of air or extreme cold so that the body does not decay further. Mummies have been discovered on almost every continent either as a result of natural preservation through the use of rare conditions or as cultural artifacts. The Mummies found in Egypt dates back to several centuries because the Egyptians had learned the art and science of mummification.
Why Egyptians Preserved Their Dead as Mummies?
In ancient Egypt, the earliest mummies were created naturally because of the environment in which they were buried. In the era before the 3500 BCE, the Egyptians had no interest in social class, so they buried all their dead in pit graves that were shallow. By burying their dead in shallow graves, it allowed for the hot desert weather and dry sand to dehydrate the dead bodies and give way to natural mummification. Ancient Egyptian religion made the natural preservation of the dead an integral part of their culture and ritual for the dead as early as 3400 BCE. It symbolized an important role of ensuring the dead live well in the afterlife. The more Egyptian acquired prosperity burial practices marked as a symbol of status for the wealthy. In time, this cultural hierarchy saw the creation of sophisticated tombs and methods of embalming. Even though scientists have not been able to adequately describe the process of mummification by the use of modern day technology they have been able to discover new information on the methods employed in mummification. A good example is the series of CT scans that were carried out on a 2,400 years old mummy. In 2008 uncovered a tool that was left inside the cranial cavities of the mummy's skull.
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled between 1332-1323BC according to the conventional chronology. King Tut was of the 18th dynasty who reigned during the period of the new Kingdom. In 1922, Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered King Tut's nearly intact tomb which received global press coverage. For this reason, the tomb ignited a new public interest in ancient Egypt and Tutankhamun's mask and remains a popular symbol in the Egyptian museum.
Ramesses I was the founding pharaoh of the 19th dynasty in ancient Egypt. He ruled from 1292 to 1290BC and his short reign marked Egypt's transition from stabilization in the late 18th dynasty to the rule of mighty Pharaohs. The mummy of Ramesses I was discovered in 1817 but later stolen by the Abu-Rasul family of grave robbers. The mummy is believed to have been displayed in a museum in Canada for many years before it was discovered and repatriated back to Egypt.
Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt. Historically, she is confirmed to be the second female pharaoh. Hatshepsut reigned longer than any other female pharaoh and is known to be one of the most successful Pharaohs. The year of discovery of Hatshepsut's tomb remains unknown to this day.
Ramesses II also known as Ramesses the Great was the third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty of Egypt. Ramesses II is known to have been the greatest and most celebrated pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. The tomb of Ramesses was discovered in 1881 in the Valley of Kings in an unusual location that was previously and periodically damaged by flash floods.
Other Notable Mummies of Pharaohs
More than 53 notable mummies of Egypt most of which were Pharaohs of ancient Egypt have so far been discovered. Throughout history, there have been numerous discoveries of tombs that contain some of the most notable mummies of ancient Egypt. Some Egyptian mummies have been found to be remarkably intact while others have been ravaged by tomb raiders or natural vagaries.