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Ancient Egypt

Funeral of a pharaoh

Funeral boats approach the pyramid.Funeral boats approach the pyramid. On the death of the pharaoh, the plans for his funeral were put into action. Firstly, his body was taken to be prepared for burial: made into a mummy. This process took 70 days to complete. Ceremony and ritual were important features of a pharaoh’s funeral. After the Opening of the Mouth ceremony had taken place, priests carried the coffin to the tomb. Following one final ceremony, the coffin was lowered carefully into the sarcophagus. The priests then left the tomb. Buried alongside the pharaoh and his treasures were food, drink and other necessities he would need in the Afterlife.

Opening of the Mouth ceremonyOpening of the Mouth ceremony

Opening of the Mouth

The Opening of the Mouth ceremony took place after the mummification process has been completed. While one priest, dressed as the jackal-headed god Anubis, held the pharaoh's mummy upright, another priest held out an adze, a kind of hand tool. He touched the hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose and mouth. By so doing, the priest enabled the dead pharaoh to breathe, eat and speak in the Afterlife.

A pyramid burial

A boat pit at the Great Pyramid of Khufu contained 1224 separate parts, made of cedar and acacia woods. They formed a kit from which a real boat could be made. The parts included holes so that the boat could be stitched together with cords made of vegetable fibres.

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