Until the period of the New Kingdom (c.1550-1086BC) mummification had been quite a crude process. Before this time a mummified body was not a rare site to the Ancient Egyptians. The drying sands of the desert caused the buried to be naturally mummified. It was the next step to develop a technique to preserve the bodies manually. The earliest method used was to wrap the body in resin soaked linen strips. This process was unsuccessful and the body would continue to rot.
At its height of popularity in the 21st Dynasty the Egyptians had refined the technique to work more effectively. This embalming process began with the removal of the brain and internal organs. The intestines would be placed into canopic jars. The heart would be left in place as it was considered to contain the individual's intellect. The now empty body was now ready to be cleaned and dried out. It was then refilled with resin-soaked linen sawdust, myrrh or other spices. When this process was completed the body would be sewn up and placed into a bath of natron (a naturally occurring salt) and was left for up to seventy days. When removed the body was the wrapped in bandages and covered in an adhesive substance.
The finished mummy was placed in a coffin often
representing the original shape of its occupant.
This coffin was then placed in a tomb and
surrounded with everything that would be needed
in the afterlife including food. Often a book of the dead in papyrus form was also
supplied in the tomb.