82 Egyptian MUMMY Facts (The ULTIMATE Amazing Guide!)

Ancient Egypt mummy
Go Mummies!


We've put together 82 interesting, cool, shocking and educational pieces of trivia. Prepare to be chilled and amazed!

1. What is a Mummy?

It's a person or animal's body that has been preserved after death using a technique called mummification. Ancient Egyptians perfected the art of mummification over centuries. They developed a method for drying and wrapping a body in linen strips that made it last for thousands of years.

2. When did Ancient Egyptians start making mummies?

Around 3400BC.

3. When did Egyptians perfect this strange technique?

In 2600BC ancient Egyptians finally figured out that if they removed the body's internal organs before wrapping a person up, their body would last instead of rot.

4. What happened next?

Egyptians went a step further. They dried the bodies out completely for 40 days before wrapping!

5. Who made mummies first?

The Egyptians were not the first. People in South America did it first.

6. How were they positioned?

The bodies were not always wrapped up in the same position. Most royal males, however, were positioned with their arms crossed over their chest.

7. What happened when tomb robbers came?

Some were damaged by robbers in ancient times and had to be re-wrapped in new bandages and moved to new tombs.
Mummy in a sarcophagus

8. Who made the best ones?

The best made and preserved mummies are from the 18th to the 20th Dynasty - circa 1570-1095 B.C. - and include Tutankhamen. The facts below refer mostly to this period.

9. Who performed the mummification?

It was a big production! Preparing a body for death employed a lot of people: embalmers, cutters (surgeon), priests and scribes.

10. How many steps did it take?

Seven steps of mummification:
  1. the body was washed and purified
  2. bodily organs were removed
  3. the body was filled with stuffing
  4. the body was soaked in natron salts to dry it out
  5. after 40+ days, the stuffing was removed and replaced
  6. the body was wrapped in linen strips
  7. the mummy was shrouded and placed in a sarcophagus.

11. How did the linen strips stick together?

Embalmers used tree resin or sap to make the linen strips stick together and secure them in place.

12. How many shrouds were used?

Up to 7 cloth shrouds (sheets of fabric) were placed over each one.

13. Who was painted on the topmost shroud?

After linen wrappings were completed and several shrouds place on top, a special cloth was placed over it all. On the cloth was a painted picture of Osiris--god of the underworld.

14. What did mummifiers wear?

The priest wore a mask in the shape of a jackal's head.

15. How long did mummification take?

The whole process, including the 40+ days soaking in natron, could take as long as 70 days.

16. Why did people get mummified?

Because they wanted to preserve their bodies for all eternity. They believed they could use them in the afterlife, as long as they were still in one piece--relatively speaking.

17. Who got mummified?

Not just pharaohs! In ancient Egypt, anyone could be preserved when they died, as long as they could afford it.

18. Was it only for humans?

Some animal mummies have been discovered. These include cats, jackals, baboons, horses, birds, gerbils, fish, snakes, crocodiles, hippos, and even a lion.

19. Did animals like that have special tombs? 

Some did! The Sacred Bull mummies from the early dynasties had their very own cemetery at Sakkara.
Anubis God of Mummification
Anubis - Egyptian god of mummification

20. Who was the god of mummification?

Anubis, pictured here. He had the head of a jackal, which is why the priests wore a jackal mask during their work.

21. Who was the first mummy?

According to Egyptian mythology, the god Osiris.

22. How much do mummies weigh?

Without their wrappings, most weigh only 5 pounds.

23. Did any get extra special treatment? 

Some were completely covered with a very thin layer of gold.

24. Did slaves get put in the tombs?

Sort of! Tombs were often filled with hundreds of tiny mummy-shaped figurines. They're called ushabti. They went with the deceased to the afterlife as 'mini-servants', to perform daily tasks such as baking bread and farming fields.

25. How do we know which body belonged to whom?

On some figures, such as that of Pharaoh Ahmose I, the person's name is written on the actual linen bandages they're wrapped in. This makes it easy to identify who the preserved body was in life.

26. What's a natural mummy?

Some "natural" ones--skeletons preserved in Egypt's dry sands--have been found wearing toe rings, and it's likely they wore the toe rings while they were alive.

KING TUT and other FAMOUS Mummies:

27. Where is Cleopatra?

No one knows where the famous Cleopatra was buried. Her tomb has not been found.

28. What did Ramses III protect himself from in the afterlife?

Ramses III must have had a fear of reptiles. He was found wearing an amulet that protects him from snakes.

29. Have all the famous ones been unwrapped?

Only one royal figure found by archeologists has not been unwrapped: Amenhotep I. He still wears his original carved face mask.

30. How many cavities did King Tut's mummy have?

King Tut--number of cavities found in his mouth? Zero.

31. How many chariots were in Tutankhamen's tomb?

Six (6) chariots were found in King Tut's tomb

32. How many amulets was Tutankhamen wearing?

Archeologists found 143 amulets or magic charms in King Tut's linen wrappings.

33. What was King Tut's funeral mask made of?

Most pharaohs were buried wearing a face mask inscribed with magic spells. Tutankhamen's mask was made of solid gold.

34. When was King Tut found?

King Tut was found in 1923. Several weeks later the archeologist who opened the tomb, Lord Carnarvon, died. People said he was cursed by ancient magic spells for desecrating Tutankhamen's tomb.

King Tut mask
35. What did Tut have on his feet?

King Tut was found wearing a pair of golden sandals, and his toes were sheathed in tubes of gold for protection.

36. How much is King Tut's casket worth?

King Tut's casket is worth over 13 million dollars.

37. How old was King Tut when he died?

King Tut was just 18 when he died.

38. Was King Tut murdered?

Archeologists originally believed King Tut was murdered. New studies using modern technology show that he had a broken leg, and that a bone disease had made his bones weak. In addition, according to his DNA, Tutankhamen was suffering from malaria. These two things may have been the cause of his death.

39. How were natural mummies made?

"Natural" mummies can be made without embalming and wrapping them up--but only if conditions are right. These conditions include extreme temperatures and dryness, such as in the Swiss Alps, and some places in Central Asia, South America and Alaska.

BIZARRE Mummy Facts:

40. What's a mummy unwrapping party?

In the Victorian era in England, unwrapping parties were a popular event. The party host would buy one, and guests would get to unwrap it. Talk about creepy! Plus, what a way to destroy an ancient artifact, yikes.

Mystery of the Egyptian Mummy
41. What other weird things did Victorian era people do?

In Victorian times, they ground them up into medicinal powders as people believed the ancient, mystical artifacts had healing powers.

42. What strange thing did King Charles II do?

King Charles II believed mummy dust contained the secret to greatness. He'd have a few standing by and collect the dust that fell off of them. Then he'd rub the dust on his skin.

43. What do trains and mummies have in common?

In the 1800's, so many mummies were dug up they became practically worthless. Rumor has it some train drivers even burned them as fuel in the boilers of their railway engines!

image: Titanic mummy

44. Did the Titanic carry a cursed ancient Egyptian?

According to rumor, the Titanic did carry a cursed sarcophagus, and that's what caused the ship to sink. The ship's records, however, show that no such object was ever on board.

45. Mummy firewood?

In later times in Egypt, it's said they were sometimes burned for fires as firewood was scarce.

46. What is Mummy Wheat?

In the 1800's, wheat was said to be grown from grains of wheat found in sarcophagi.

47. What mummy has his own passport?

Ramses II. He received a passport for a visit to France!


48. How much did the Mummy movies make?

The movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns", both from Universal Studios, were so popular that they made combined box office earnings of $357,405,273.00, according to Hollywood.com

49. What grasshopper trick did they use in 'The Mummy'

In the 1999 movie they used hundreds of grasshoppers. To make them easier to film, they refrigerated the grasshoppers for a few hours so that they'd be sluggish.

image: the mummy returns bloopers
50. The Mummy Movie Blooper?

In the tomb there are 5 canopic jars to hold the organs of the deceased, and one jar has the head of a lion. In reality, ancient Egyptians used only 4 canopic jars, and there's no such thing as a lion headed canopic jar.

51. The Mummy Returns Movie Blooper?

In a scene where Nefertiri is fighting Anck-Su-Namun, she gets knocked to the floor. When she lifts up her mask, you can see a band-aid on her finger. Of course, they didn't have band-aids in ancient Egypt.

52. Who wrote novels about curses first?

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, wrote one of the earliest books to feature an Egyptian curse. It was called "Lost in a Pyramid", and later, "The Mummy's Curse". She wrote it in 1869.

53. What popularized mummy curses?

Horror films popularized them. One of the earliest movies was the Jewel of Seven Stars, based on a horror novel by Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), about an archeologist who tries to revive an ancient priest.

54. What other famous stories feature mummies?

Tintin's "Cigars of the Pharaoh" features an eccentric Egyptologist named Sophocles Sarcophagus. This story about the search for the undiscovered tomb of Pharaoh Kih-Oskh and introduced the twin detectives Thompson and Thompson, who were featured in many later Tintin stories.


55. Ancient diseases?

Using x-rays and cat scans, scientists can tell what kinds of diseases people had, from cavities to spinal deformities, and even nutritional deficiencies.

56. Why do scientists scan them with x-rays and CT machines?

By using x-rays and CT scans, a scientist, they don't have to unwrap the body to see inside.

57. Recreate King Tutankhamen's face?

Digital imagery can be used to recreate an ancient person's face on a computer in 3-D. This way we are able to see what the person looked like when they were alive thousands of years ago. They even made one for King Tut!

58. Scientific uses?

Can you believe it? They've been used to calibrate CAT scan machines for use in hospitals, at levels of radiation that would be too dangerous for a living person.

image: mummies for kids59. What one set of mummy x-rays found

The body of Cleopatra--not the famous one, but a second Cleopatra, who lived 150 later--was so tightly bound up in linen that x-rays show her left hip was dislocated.

60. What can mummy DNA tell us?

DNA has shown that ancient Egyptians ate a stable diet. Some however, suffered from anemia (iron deficiency) and other disorders.

More Weird SCIENCE:

61. How effective is mummification?

The process is so successful at preserving a human, we can get a pretty good idea of what a person looked like when they were alive 3000 years ago.

62. Uncovering a family resemblance?

Scientists are able to guess if they're from the same family, or are related, by studying their facial features and the shapes of their skulls.

63. How can airport scanners help archaeologists?

Airport scanners are being considered for use in studying mummies, as they are more gentle than x-rays and cat scans and less likely to damage the ancient artifacts.


64. Ghosts?

In 1699, a Polish man bought 2 mummies in Alexandria and set out in a boat across the Mediterranean Sea. He was haunted by 2 ghosts the whole way, along with terribly rough seas until he finally threw the mummies overboard.

65. Another haunting?

Archeologist Zahi Hawass removed 2 child mummies from a tomb and put them in a museum. He was haunted by the 2 children until they were reunited with their father. Ahi Hawass decided to remove all 3 family members from their display.

66. Magic?

A sick young boy was miraculously 'cured' when he visited an Egyptian museum and looked into the ancient eyes of Pharaoh Ahmose I. Ahmose I was famous for winning Egypt back from the Hyksos invaders.

67. An eerie spinning statue?

In Manchester, England, they have a mystery on their hands. A statue from a mummy's tomb was repeatedly found standing backward inside its case. Sure someone was playing a trick, the museum curators put a video camera on it. They played the video back and found it spinning around all on its own. The cause is still unanswered.

68. Dead canary curse?

After Howard Carter opened King Tut's tomb, he sent a messenger to his house. As the messenger reached it, he heard a "faint, almost human cry". When he got inside, he found a cobra--a symbol of Egyptian power--inside Carter's bird cage, with Carter's pet canary in its mouth. The bird was dead.<

69. The Mummified Hand?

Sir Bruce Ingham received a mummified hand from King Tut's tomb as a gift. The relic wore a scarab bracelet with the words: "Cursed be he who moves my body. To him shall come fire, water, and pestilence." Some time later, his house burned down. Even stranger, after he rebuilt his house, it suffered a flood.

Mummies on DISPLAY:

70. What are the best places to see mummies on display?

Many museums display these amazing relics of the past, but some of the best ones are found at the Cairo Museum, the British Museum, the Berlin Museum, and the Luxor "Mummification Museum".

71. Does the Daredevil Museum have a mummy?

It is said that Pharaoh Ramses I ended up at a daredevil museum in Niagara Falls, Canada, having been sold to a Canadian collector in 1860. Ramses is now on display in Luxor, Egypt.

72. Holy mummy?

The Vatican houses an ancient Egyptian mummy.

73. Where does the word come from?

It comes from the Arabic word 'mumia' which means pitch or wax (bitumen). Originally, people believed pitch or wax was the stuff responsible for the lasting perservation effects.

74. Who wrote about the process first?

Herodotus, a writer-historian who traveled to Egypt in around 450 B.C.

75. Where were mummies discovered?

In northern Egypt, near the pyramids.

76. Where else were mummies discovered?

In Southern Egypt, in two secret valleys: the Valley of the Kings for male pharaohs, and the Valley of the Queens, for female queens.

77. Why were some mummies destroyed?

Some have been found in tombs that were unfortunately subjected to floods, and so the relics were not fully preserved.

78. How are they cataloged?

Unnamed ones were often given nicknames, including Ginger for a man with red hair. Later, people decided this was disrespectful and switched to giving the artifacts serial numbers instead.


79. Why do they call them mummy sleeping bags?

Modern sleeping bags are styled to be wide at the shoulders and narrow at the feet. The design makes a person lying inside one look like a mummy--this is how they got the nickname.

80. What are some modern mummy toys?

Lego sells a mummy action figure, and it has a chariot with a skeleton horse that glows in the dark.

81. What's an example of a vintage mummy toy?

A vintage King Tut magic trick is still sold today. It consists of a coffin and King Tut's mummy. Unless you know the trick to inserting Tut into his coffin, he just keeps popping right back out to haunt you.

82. Cheating Death?

Mummies are often thought of as scary creatures that walk around with outstretched arms, but beyond the hype these fascinating artifacts were actually once living people. By preserving them in as lifelike a way as possible, ancient Egyptians have given us a glance at who they were. In a way, a small part of them has cheated death itself.

Read the rest!
Want the full 101 facts? Be sure and grab my book. It's packed full with extra tidbits and pictures. Buy it here.

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