Egypt in South Africa

Burial customs

The funeral of a pharaoh was an elaborate affair. After the body had been embalmed and placed in a coffin, it was placed on a sled and transported to the pyramid site.
 
After the necessary ceremonies had been performed, the coffin was placed inside a sarcophagus and the tomb sealed – hopefully for eternity, although this sadly was not always the case.
 
The ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh’s soul or ka resided within his mummy and so would continue to ‘live’ in the afterlife. This meant that he would require many of the everyday objects he had used in his earthbound life and these were also placed in the tomb. Spells or magic ceremonies were often performed to ensure a safe journey during the Afterlife.
 
The tomb of Tut-ankh-amun, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, is famous because it is the only tomb from Egypt’s New Kingdom that has been found substantially intact.  This tomb has provided much of the information we have on the contents of a pharaoh’s burial chambers. It took Howard Carter almost 10 years to catalogue all the items he had found in the tomb.
A mummy in a coffin of painted wood at the Luxor Museum in Egypt. (c) Iziko Photo Archive.