Chicken Mummy IV: Pharaoh Kirby I
After much procrastination, our chicken mummy project is FINALLY complete. What was supposed to have taken 6 weeks, with updates every week, has taken more like 5 months. I take full responsibility – between family issues and home improvement projects and other summertime fun, we’ve scarcely had time to breathe, much less plan an elaborate burial ritual for mummified poultry, and truthfully, this was far from ‘elaborate’, but at least it’s no longer in my kitchen, eh?
We slacked – we didn’t weigh him before burial so I don’t know exactly how much weight was lost in the process. He was 5lbs to begin with and significantly less than at burial, so the math lesson on this will have to come later. We also didn’t wrap his limbs individually; he was squished up in the container and so they were hard to pry away from his body so we wrapped him whole. We didn’t add prayer charms in the wrappings either – like I said, this was expedient, not elaborate.
I did learn a lot from this experience though, and I know the kids did as well. We’ve had several opportunities to revisit Ancient Egypt and put their knowledge to use, so I am quite satisfied with that part of it at least. We visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science last week and as always, the mummy in the basement is a must-see before we can exit the building. They had Jr. Scientists this time to talk about the mummification preparation process and the wrappings, and then a Museum Curator was there to talk to the kids about the actual mummy that is there (he’s a commoner, not royalty – we know this because of the way his arms were wrapped and placed, also, the priests did a poor/hasty job of removing his brain and some was left in his head). Interesting stuff!
Next time, I think we’ll use natron instead of plain salt, and will wash the body with vinegar instead of water before re-spicing. We’ll also need to figure out how to arrange the limbs so that they’re not so tight to the body. And finally, I’m thinking we may try a faster-then-6-week plan so that we can complete the project in a timely manner instead of getting distracted. Some of the faster ones were done within a week or so. I’d also like to explore more of the burial rituals, and incorporate more art into this lesson.
So without further adieu, here are the last of our chicken mummy pictures:
Lacking a pyramid, we opted for an underground tomb in our back yard for Pharaoh Kirby I’s final resting place.
They cleaned off the salt and spices. I was really expecting there to be a smell considering how long it’s been, but there was really none. All I could smell was the cinnamon and cloves. The skin was tight to the body – not 100% dried out, but pretty firm, and the flesh underneath was very firm.
With a prayer for a swift journey to the afterlife and a request for no haunting, we were done… finally!
Now… on to the next project. I’m thinking maybe a batik or tie-dye craft. Kidipede has some ideas.