Ancient Egyptian Burial Practices

During the earlier days, ancient Egyptians buried their dead in the ground, not in pyramids or tombs. Pottery and other items would be scattered around the body in the burial plot and the bodies were usually placed in a curled up, fetal position. The burial practices began to change when royalty started wanting fancier burials for themselves. The wealthy would have mastabas built, which were simple tombs made of mud bricks. Since these tombs did not preserve the body as much as the dry desert sand did, the ancient Egyptians came up with a method for preserving the body after death. Early mummification consisted of just drying the body out in the sun and wrapping it in linens, but later mummification consisted of removing the organs to be placed in separate containers and plastering the body and placing it in a sarcophagus to be put inside a pyramid to preserve the body. Mummification was a very expensive service and only the very wealthy, such as pharaohs, could afford to have their bodies mummified after their death. Animals would also sometimes be mummified and put in pyramids with the wealthy, as well as expensive, fancy grave goods, like jewelry and high quality pottery.