Although mummies share the big screen and Halloween streets with make-believe monsters such as werewolves and vampires, they are real! A mummy is a corpse with preserved skin and internal organs. Although often associated with Ancient Egypt, mummies have been found in a variety of cultures around the world. The Egyptians mummified their dead for religious reasons, but some mummies are preserved accidentally in ice or soggy bogs.
Retired college professor James M. Deem shares his fascination with mummies to encourage learners of all ages to discard their mistaken ideas about mummies (popularized by classic, scary movies) and learn about the science and history of mummies. His site includes sections on science, museum exhibits, and mummy sites such as Egypt, Pompeii and the bogs of Ireland, Scotland, Germany and other European locales. "Bog mummies are accidental mummies, made only by nature. In northern Europe, the people who became bog mummies usually died from 2000-2500 years ago, though some are even older and others much more recent."
This PBS webpage is part of the Mummies of China site. It provides an introduction to mummies from all over the world, including Ancient Egypt, the Chinchoros of Chile, and the Aleuts of Alaska. To explore more of the Mummies of China site, follow the links in the left-hand navigation menu. "Not to put too fine a point on it, a mummy is an old dead body. But unlike a skeleton or a fossil, a mummy still retains some of the soft tissue it had when it was alive ? most often skin, but sometimes organs and muscles, as well."
Teacher Carla Detter shares her instructions for making mummies in the classroom from whole, fresh, grocery-store chickens. She explains, "The original idea for this activity came from the book Theme Series- Egypt by Creative Teaching Press. I modified the process. So far, our mummies have survived and so have we. We unwrapped one of the chickens from last year. You could see some red meat and the bones were still hard. It did not smell! The students were excited to see what had happened over a year's time and yet leery of getting too close!"
"Greetings! I am Anubis, the god of embalming. The ancient Egyptians believed that the body of the deceased needed to be preserved so that the soul could recognize it after death." Embalm your own mummy with this Flash game, while you learn what mummification is, and how the Egyptians did it. Although the images are not disturbing, some of the activities are a little gross. Play at your own risk!
This illustrated online textbook for elementary and middle-school students answers questions such as "What are mummies?", "How are mummies made?", and "Who were the mummies?" It also has a glossary of hieroglyphs, and a timeline of Ancient Egypt from the 1st Dynasty in 2995 BC to the Roman Period ending in the 7th century AD. Although the website has not been updated since 1997, it remains useful and easy to navigate.