For their September meeting, members of our MAYA (Somerset) YAC did a spot of DIY mummification! Club leader, Liz Caldwell, explains more...
We started out with a PowerPoint presentation about how and why the Egyptians used to mummify their dead. We then showed our members step-by-step instructions about how to mummify… oranges!
Before we started on the oranges, we made special amulets out of paper, drawing Egyptian hieroglyphs, charms and symbols on them to wrap inside our mummies’ bandages. Our MAYANS were then each given an orange to mummify!
The oranges’ juicy insides had been removed beforehand by our volunteers as this is an extremely messy job!! The oranges had then been stuffed with kitchen towel with a squirt of red food colouring for extra effect!
The MAYANS started off by removing the “blood-stained” kitchen towel. They then put teaspoons of cinnamon and cloves inside their orange; the Egyptians used to put herbs and spices inside their mummies. The next step was to stuff the orange with a mixture of sodium bicarbonate (a component of the mineral salt natron which the ancient Egyptians used for mummification) and salt to preserve them. After that it was time to wrap the oranges in bandages. The members placed the charms and amulets they had made between the bandages.
Our MAYANS took their mummies home (we recommended keeping them somewhere warm, like an airing cupboard). We're all looking forwad to finding out at our next session how their mummies are doing!
Our mummification day was a messy but really fun session, and our MAYANS learnt lots too!
If you want to have a go at mummifying your own oranges, check out the 'Things to do' section of the YAC website for the step-by-step instructions.
Blog by Liz Caldwell, MAYA YAC leader
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