home

subscribe

quiz

ask dr. dig

fantastic factoids

glossary

links

grownups

about us




Questions about mummies and bog bodies

How and why did they take the brains out of the mummy's nose?

Dr. dig responds:
Are you ready to read the following gory details?

But before I go on, you should know that the process of mummification was done to preserve the dead so that his or her body could travel to the Afterlife. This was an important part of the Egyptian religious beliefs.

Two or three days after a person died, the body was taken to an embalmer - a person who specialized in preserving the dead. The embalmer removed the wet, mushy bits first so the body wouldn't rot so fast. The brain was removed too. Using a metal rod which was inserted into the left nostril the embalmer smashed the bone that separates the root of the nose from the skull and removed the brain bit by bit through the hole that he made. Are you totally grossed out now?

Horrid as it sounds, the ancient Egyptians had a perfectly good reason for removing the brains of the dead: wet, gooey brains rot, and would spoil the process of mummification, which was intended to preserve the form and shape of the body to live on in the afterlife.

Also, to the ancient Egyptians, the brains were considered the waste products of the body, and so weren't worth preserving at all, unlike the stomach, the lungs, and he intestines, which were removed and mummified separately in special vessels, that archaeologists call canopic jars.

Is this eww, gross, or what?!


BACK TO MUMMIES

Cobblestone Publishing
A Division of Carus Publishing Company

30 Grove St., Ste. C, Peterborough, NH 03458
1-800-821-0115 / 603-924-7209 / FAX 603-924-7380