The Oldest Identified Mummification ‘Recipe’ Has Been Unearthed, And It is Intense

Whereas we will study loads about mummification from historic examples of the observe, questions stay about precisely how the Egyptians ready their lifeless for the afterlife.

In an thrilling discovery, researchers have found an authentic ‘the right way to’ guide, hidden inside an historic textual content, which explains the essential steps to embalming and making a mummy.


The information to mummification has been discovered on a 3,500-year-old piece of papyrus known as the Papyrus Louvre-Carlsberg manuscript, so known as as a result of half of it, primarily containing medical data, is within the Louvre Museum in Paris and the opposite half is a part of the Papyrus Carlsberg Assortment on the College of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Earlier than this new textual content got here to mild, specialists solely had two authentic texts on mummification to work with. The method was thought-about a sacred artwork in historic Egypt, with only some specialists instructed within the methods of embalming, and the data normally handed on verbally from individual to individual.

The face protecting course of revealed within the new analysis. (Ida Christensen)

“The textual content reads like a reminiscence support, so the supposed readers should have been specialists who wanted to be reminded of those particulars, akin to unguent recipes and makes use of of varied forms of bandages,” says Egyptologist Sofie Schiødt, from the College of Copenhagen.

Schiødt has revealed particulars concerning the textual content in her PhD thesis, and the complete Louvre papyrus can be revealed subsequent 12 months.

257570 webPart of the papyrus. (The Papyrus Carlsberg Assortment, College of Copenhagen)

Among the many particulars that Schiødt has teased out of the doc is a listing of directions for embalming the face of the deceased particular person, which was achieved with a chunk of pink linen coated in a particular plant-based resolution.

The answer included fragrant substances in addition to binders for holding the combination collectively, and the saturated material was supposed to maintain the face shielded from bugs and micro organism whereas additionally smelling candy. This course of hasn’t been documented earlier than, however does match up with a number of the mummified stays which were discovered.


This manuscript additionally lays out the complete 70-day schedule for embalming, break up into two halves: a 35-day drying interval and a 35-day wrapping interval, which had been themselves divided into four-day intervals. Frequent remedies to the physique included making use of a mix known as natron, after the elimination of the organs and the mind. Though the usage of natron wasn’t talked about on this particular textual content, Schiødt explains.

“A ritual procession of the mum marked lately, celebrating the progress of restoring the deceased’s corporeal integrity, amounting to 17 processions over the course of the embalming interval,” says Schiødt.

“In between the four-day intervals, the physique was lined with material and overlaid with straw infused with aromatics to maintain away bugs and scavengers.”

That is the primary time the Carlsberg Assortment half of the manuscript has been analysed and translated, and it provides to the knowledge already interpreted from the Louvre Museum half, protecting details about natural medication and pores and skin swellings.

Round six metres (practically 20 ft) in size, the papyrus is now an much more vital supply on illness and well being in historic Egypt – together with which illnesses had been considered the work of which gods, and the way they could possibly be combated.


The Papyrus Louvre-Carlsberg manuscript is older than the 2 mummification manuals which have beforehand been found, and so turns into the oldest document of the observe that we now have. It additionally contains particulars missing within the different two paperwork.

“Many descriptions of embalming methods that we discover on this papyrus have been unnoticed of the 2 later manuals, and the descriptions are extraordinarily detailed,” says Schiødt.

The analysis hasn’t been revealed in a peer-reviewed journal nevertheless it types the premise of the  PhD thesis being written by Schiødt.


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