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Mummification Glossary

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ma'at - This is the Egyptian word for "what is right." It means don't lie, be good, don't act or pretend to be confused. Ma’at is also the name of a very pretty ancient Egyptian goddess. She wears a feather on her head.

Click to see larger image
Image courtesy of The Egypt Archive

The reality of reality. The Egyptian word for "what is right." It includes the idea of truth instead of lies, and good balance instead of evil chaos. Ma'at is also the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess who wears a feather on her head. This feather is balanced against the heart of a person who died before they pass into the afterlife. If the heart remains as light as the feather, the person can move into the afterlife.

mausoleum - This is a type of building where dead bodies go after a funeral. It is usually above the ground, but sometimes it is underground.

A large stately tomb or building housing such a tomb or several tombs.

metamorphosis - This means when something changes into a new form, like when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

Change of physical form, structure, or substance esp. by supernatural means; a marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching.

mummification, ancient - Old ways of preserving a once living body so that it would not decay.

Transforms a once living body or tissue into a state of arrested decay. From the Persian word "moumiya". A preserved corpse by either natural or artificial means so as to include not only material that would ordinarily survive over time (e.g. bone), but also tissue that would ordinarily have disappeared (e.g. skin).

mummification, anthropogenic - This is mummification that was done on purpose by people.

Artificial mummification.

mummification, modern - A new way of preserving a once living body or tissue so that it does not decay.

Transforms a once living body or tissue into a state of Permanent Body Preservation.

mummification, spontaneous - This type of mummification happens by itself naturally, without people being involved.

Natural mummification.

mumiya - Black stuff found in the Middle East. It's really gooey. It's like that black stuff used to make roads.

A black, tarry material oozing spontaneously from fissures in several locations of what we would now call the Middle East. This material, which we would call asphalt or bitumen, was called mumiya by Persians perhaps because its consistency resembled that of wax, called mum by the Arabs.

mummy - The dead body of a person or animal that has been preserved really well.

A dead body embalmed, dried, and prepared for burial as in the manner of the ancient Egyptians; a body unusually well preserved by artificial or natural means.

mummy sanctuary - A sacred place where deified mummies go.