The process of mummification is one of the most famous aspects of ancient Egyptian society and an important over all feature of the history of Ancient Egypt itself.
The process of Egyptian mummification was considered to be a highly important feature of the religious, social, and political structure of Ancient Egypt.
A Long Running Process
The process of Egyptian mummification had its origins within the Pre-Dynastic Period and perfected during the epoch of the Old Kingdom. Egyptian mummification was a process, which was developed as a consequence of the religious beliefs in physical resurrection and the afterlife.
However the process of mummification was not used for everybody in Ancient Egypt, it was generally reserved for the Pharaohs, the most important religious leaders, as well as the wealthiest classes.
The purpose of the Egyptian mummification process was to preserve as much as possible of the dead person in order to assist their physical resurrection in the afterlife. The process of Egyptian mummification involved the removal of all internal organs to almost entirely halt the decomposition of the body.
Not only were there physical aspects to the process of Egyptian mummification it also involved religious and spiritual ceremonies.
A Religiously Significant Process
The religious beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians stressed that people needed to take all of their earthly processions with them to be used in the after life. Therefore the practice began for Pharaohs, other members of the royal family, religious leaders, and wealthy people to leave large amounts of valuable items in their tombs. Of course the practice of robbing tombs also developed as criminals or the just plain desperate broke into tombs for huge profits or to gain enough to survive during hard times.
The tendency for much of the Old Kingdom, and the Middle Kingdom as well as the Intermediate periods was for the Pharaohs, the religious leaders, and the most wealthy people to have the largest as well as the most elaborate tombs that they could afford to have constructed. The pyramids were of course the most obvious examples of constructing grand tombs. For most of the history of Ancient Egypt tomb robbers did not have to look too far for potential targets.
Therefore the Ancient Egyptians in particular, and the aristocracy, religious orders as well as the Pharaohs in particular took the building of the tombs that were buried in very seriously indeed. The seriousness as well as the importance that the Ancient Egyptians placed upon death and how people were buried made the building of tombs and the process of mummification was very important to them as a people taken as a whole.