Mummifying the Abdomen


The abdominal cavity and the chest were usually cleared out via an incision made in the side of the body. In the X-Ray image you can see the location of this incision on the right hand side of the mummy.
Incision Plate

Because it was important that the body was intact for the afterlife, the damage done had to be magically repaired and the space where the internal organs were had to be restored. Usually the cavity was packed to maintain its shape. This packing could be rolls of linen soaked in resin, or in some cases mud and straw.
The site of the incision was typically closed with a metal plate like this one to magically close the wound.

The incision used during the mummification process is clearly visible on a number of mummies, and often X-Rays show up the metal plate. This picture of an unwrapped mummy in the British Museum shows the cut in its side where the organs would have been removed.

Mummies Incision

Although the Canopic Jars are well know, there were other methods used to deal with the internal organs. One method of treating the internal organs was to place them in a solution of Natron salt and then put them in special small coffins, or sometimes they were wrapped in linen and returned to the the body cavity. Figures of the Sons of Horus were often included with the packages.

It is interesting to think of how important it was to the Ancient Egyptians to keep the dead person looking as lifelike as possible, when this had to be balanced with the need to stop them from decomposing and rotting. Complex rituals must have been involved to reconcile the desire with perfection with the violence done to the body in removing the internal organs.