In ancient Egyptian society preserving a body after death was considered a very crucial process necessary for entrance into an immortal existence. The importance of preserving the body was based on their cultural belief that the deceased persons soul must recognize the body and return to it. Ancient Egyptians believed that if the spirit could not identify the body it belonged to, it would die. As a result of this theology Egyptians developed an effective system of embalming. The Egyptian embalming process was a significant and complicated procedure, which was performed by priests.
The early Egyptians thought that after death their spirits would travel to another world during the day, and at night the spirits would return to their bodies. In order for the person's spirit to live forever, the spirit had to be able to identify and come back to the corpse. This is why the Egyptians wanted to preserve the bodies of the dead in as lifelike a state as possible. Egyptians believed mummification guaranteed eternal life for the spirit, which was considered essential in ancient Egyptian civilization. The practice of mummification was so esteemed in early Egyptian society that major criminals would not be executed, but denied the privilege of becoming mummified.
Priests that performed the embalming were forced to overcome several obstacles before perfecting the method. One major challenge was protecting the bodies. Slaves were forced to guard the remains, to ward off dogs as well as other scavengers. In addition, the Priests used magical items to provide security.
The precise mummification treatment depended on what the family of the deceased could afford. The most elaborate method took about 60 days. The practice of mummification, referred to as, The Seven Steps to Immortality, was performed as follows:
1. After the body had been washed with wine and spices, all of the parts that might decay were remov...