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Mummification Glossary

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papyrus - This is a plant that grew in Egypt by the Nile River. For a while, it disappeared. But then it came back.

Plant (Cyperus papyrus L) which used to grow prolifically in Egypt, especially in Delta marshes. Oddly enough, the papyrus plant became extinct in Egypt but after being reintroduced in the 1960's, it is now an important link in the tourist trade.

papyrus - This was a type of paper made out of the papyrus plant. The Egyptians used it to write on.

The main Egyptian writing material and an important export. The earliest papyrus dates to the First Dynasty, the latest to the Islamic Period. Sheets were made by cutting the stem of the plant into strips. These strips were soaked in several baths to remove some of the sugar and starches. These strips were then laid in rows horizontally and vertically. Then it was beaten together, activating the plant's natural starches and forming a glue that bound the sheet together. Separate sheets were glued together to form a roll.

pep nefer - The place where some of the mummification rituals took place.

phonogram - This is a picture or symbol that is supposed to be the sound of a word.

A symbol or picture which represents the sound of a word.

pictograph - This is a picture with a special meaning.

A symbol which is represented by a picture or image.

putrefaction - This is when living things after they die, start to decompose and smell really bad.

The decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms (especially the splitting of protein by bacteria and fungi) which produces foul-smelling matter.

pyramid texts - These are special writings found on some walls inside the pyramids.

Spells and magical inscriptions found inside pyramids from Dynasty V to Dynasty VI.