In addition to classical texts and references, a surprising amount of modern scientific research has been conducted in regards to mummies. Sometimes,. these have even included multidisciplinary studies of mummified remains which have supplied new information about the process of mummification itself, as well as disease, , 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.
Mummification rituals in ancient civilizations are studied today to help us understand more about our worlds past. The ancient Egyptians believed the body was preserved for the afterlife. Mummification is the embalmment and drying a dead body and wrapping it as a mummy and preservation of it by treating it with balsams and drugs and other chemicals. There were four main parts to the mummification process: embalm the body, wrap the body, final preparations, and the funeral.
The Rituals and Accessories of Mummification
After the basic mummification process was completed, the embalmers then wrapped the mummy in layers of linen bandages, between which they inserted protected to guard the deceased from evil and danger. A decomposing body will soon begin to swell and loose its recognizable human form. This swelling will effect all of the body, but is particularly apparent in the abdomen, where gasses being produced by bacteria inflate the intestines. Removal of the internal organs of course aids in preventing this process. However, bandaging of the body also prevents or at least restricts such swelling, as well as excluding air from direct contact with the corpse, thus slowing deterioration. Bandaging would also prevent the formation of blisters on the skin, caused by fluid within the body, which appear in the first stages of decomposition.