What are Egyptians buried in?


Ancient Egyptian burials

Every culture has its own traditional burial rites and burial procedures, with burials in ancient Egypt being among the most elaborate. One more awaited the dead before the burial mummification, as numerous cults. Since in ancient Egypt the Believe in the gods and there was great afterlife in the hereafter, numerous grave gifts were also given to the grave. These should help the deceased on his way, protect him from possible dangers and the way to Judgment of the dead the gods guide. There it was decided which souls will be left in paradise and which will be left to the demon. The extent of Grave favors and the expense of the burials always depended on the deceased's status in society, for example the festivities with a pharaoh were much larger. Below you will find all the information about the pharaohs, the most important gods, the various burial rites and mummification, as well as a comparison with the burials in Egypt today.


The mummification

The traditional burial ritual in ancient Egypt set one Custom of divine originwho have favourited embalming and mummification, advance. The procedure for mummifying always depended on the family's status, a distinction was made between three different classes of mummification. The cheapest option was to inject Syrmaia juice into the intestines and then dry the body. In middle-class people, cedar oil, which liquefied the bowels, was injected into the abdomen and the body was finally dipped in baking soda. First class mummification was reserved for the royal families, and the process has been perfected over the years.

At the beginning were all organs, starting with the brain, taken to prevent internal decomposition. While the brain was pulled out through the nose with a hook, the remaining innards, such as the stomach, lungs, and liver, were removed through an incision on the side of the body. Just that heart, which is considered a refuge of feelings and intelligence, was allowed to linger in the body. The removed viscera and organs were in various Jars housed, which were later placed at the grave. These, at some point in history, had the four Grave spirits mounted as heads:


  • Amset (Head in human form)
  • Duamutef (Head of a jackal)
  • Kebehsenuef (Head of a bird of prey)
  • Hapi (Head of a baboon)


After two of the three washes that followed the removal of the organs and innards, the embalming practitioner dried the body for 35 to 40 days Sodium salt to make it durable. In the end, they finally followed Embalming and the following Bandaging of the corpse, with pharaohs being embedded in a cloth or in a sheath made of gold. In total, the preparation and mummification could take over 70 days.

In order for the deceased to reach the afterlife well protected, amulets were attached around his body and his face through a Death mask secured. In the case of higher-ranking personalities, this often consisted of gold. Mummification should enable the soul to return to its physical shell.



The body of a deceased must be preserved from decay so that his soul can find its rest and continue to live in the hereafter.

Mummification had a great tradition in ancient Egypt. | © Andrea lzzotti

The burial ritual in ancient Egypt

The complexity and the size of the burial ritual were closely related to the person who was buried. A royal mummy or a nobleman, of course, had bigger festivities than a common middle-class man. The difference already existed with Place of embalmingfound this in the case of the kings, for example Mortuary temples west of the Nile. If a corpse was not already on the west side, a boat was taken to the other side, followed by family and friends. There was the sarcophagus, in which the body was, placed on a sleigh pulled by oxen. So-called Mourning women had their place in front of and behind the coffin and imitated the goddesses Isis and Nephthys with their ritual laments. Meanwhile, the priests of the dead incense the deceased and recited some hymns in his honor. Relatives and friends followed the car, first the men, who had grown a beard as a sign of mourning, and then the women, who joined the cries.



On arrival at the grave site or the burial chamber, a Mouth opening ritual performed to revive the deceased. This should ensure that the deceased is also in the Beyond can speak, eat and drink. The corpse was then brought into the burial chamber with abundant offerings. At the end of the ceremony, there was a funeral feast with the relatives and friends, with the door closed Burial chamber. The actual burial of the mummy took place in the burial chamber specially made for the deceased, from which he was to enter the empire of Osiris and find eternal protection. A survival in the hereafter was also guaranteed in this way.


The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut | © Pakhnyushchyy

The worship of gods & the cult of the dead


The gods in ancient Egypt were divided into three different groups, there were the empire gods, the house gods and the local gods. The most powerful were usually those Imperial gods, including Osiris, for example. Osiris, the god of the dead and fertility, was considered a symbol of resurrection and eternal life. He is also the successor of Re, the first king and God on earth. In contrast to the gods of other religions, the gods in ancient Egypt were mortal and experienced an eternal existence in the hereafter through rebirth. Local gods had a deep connection with a certain place or the surrounding area and was most worshiped there, for example the goddess Hathor in the cities of Dendera and Thebes. House gods again found as statues in Egyptian houses or as amulets.

There were many gods in ancient Egypt:


The most important gods in ancient Egypt


In the Death culture of the ancient Egyptians, the individual gods played a major role. On the journey of the soul to the land of the dead, it must first face the Egyptian judgment of the dead in the hall of the two truths, which is led by the god Osiris. The examination of the soul takes place on the Scales of justicein which the heart is weighed against a spring. Only when the heart is lighter or equal to the weight of the pen does the god Osiris open the deceased Way to paradise. Otherwise the soul of the deceased will be destroyed by the demon Ammit. In order to protect the deceased in the afterlife, so-called Books of the dead laid in the grave. In them incantations and spells are written down, which should give the deceased magical support and practical help in the afterlife, in order to secure their supply and survival and to protect them from possible dangers. These advisors were not only available to the kings, but also to the entire upper class.


Amenemhat's Book of the Dead

The pharaohs & their pyramids

For the pharaohs, the culture of the dead played an even greater role in ancient Egypt. Originally the word Pharaoh only referred to the palace of the king, only from the new kingdom onwards were they divine ruler so called in itself. In ancient Egypt there were more than 300 Egyptian pharaohs, who were celebrated as gods in the body and were at the head of the people. The best known are, for example, Ramses II and Akhenaten.

When a pharaoh died, he was buried in so-called mastabas and then buried in an underground burial chamber. This changed with the advent of the Pyramids, because this way the deceased pharaohs could be buried in burial chambers that were built above the earth. In this way the souls of the dead could get from the burial chamber to heaven and back again. One of the largest pyramids is, for example, the Great Pyramid, which was built as a tomb for the Egyptian king Cheops.


The pyramids of Mykerinos, Chephren and Cheops. | © WitR

Compared to burial in modern day Egypt

Burial of a deceased person in modern day Egypt is very similar to burial in Islam, in which the Koran also plays a decisive role. After the death has been determined and a death certificate has been issued, one follows Body washing and the wrapping in a white cloth. Similar to the Islamist burial, sections from the Koran are recited. The deceased is then taken on a stretcher to the local mosque, where the relatives are housed Funeral prayer carry out. The corpse is buried, without a coffin, in the direction of Mecca. In contrast to burials in other cultures, there is no burial ceremony in today's Egypt and there is also no dress code. The only important thing is that the burial must be carried out within 24 hours of death.


The burial in ancient Egypt was marked by Belief in the gods and one possible Life in the hereafter. For this reason, the culture of the dead was very important and the burial involved a lot of effort. Many of the funeral rites were aimed at facilitating the afterlife for the deceased person and their soul. For example, there was the mouth opening ritual so that the deceased could still talk and eat after death. The extent of the rites and effort always depended on the position of the deceased in society. After the mummification, a pharaoh or a royal person was buried in a grave chamber specially built for him and was given a book of the dead to help him survive in the afterlife and to protect against possible dangers. These traditions and rites are no longer carried out in today's Egypt, the elaborate mummification is neither carried out, nor are the deceased buried in specially shaped and decorated coffins, the sarcophagi.

But precisely because this elaborate and faith-laden burial is no longer carried out today, it is so special and fascinating for people. The extent of the cult of the dead in ancient Egypt can still be seen today in several regions of Egypt and is also being researched by scientists, so that more and more details about the rites and beliefs are known.

If you are looking for funeral rites in other religions and cultures, such as those of the Maya, those of the Christian and Evangelical Church or those in Judaism, you will find all the information on stilvolle-grabsteine.de.

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Current impressions from the valley of the pharaohs. Unique evidence of human architecture


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