The Rituals of Purification and Mummification in the Old Kingdom: Sequence, Time and Location

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Luxor University, Egypt


The ancient Egyptians gave great importance to the funerary services for the noble deceased, as they believed that through these rituals and practices he could reach the safe afterlife and eternity. This paper brings together available archaeological, textual and pictorial evidence about two structures; the Tent of Purification “ibw” and the Mummification Workshop “wabt”. Through these evidence, it discusses and concludes the time and sequence of the rituals performed in the two funeral ceremonies that were made after a noble’s death in the Old Kingdom. It also deduces the possible location of these structures in the Necropolis. It uses descriptive analysis methodology for mainly pictorial evidence besides textual, archaeological ones about the both places for constructing a chronological order to the funerary services. This paper proposes that during the Old Kingdom, two different tents of purification were set up in two different locations. The first ibw was made on the first day of mummification on the edge of body of water on the side of the necropolis. This was the first stop during the first funerary ceremony in which the body was transported to the wabt. A second ibw was made near the wabt and the tomb. It was used during the embalming process and then in the purification of the body during the second ceremony which is the day of burial. This research suggests also that the body remains few days before being delivered to the wabt to prepare appropriate funeral ceremonies and enable the embalmers and officials in the ibw to have sufficient time to do what is necessary for their ritualistic jobs.

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