Of all the ancient peoples, the Egyptians are perhaps best known for the fascinating ways in which they grappled with the mysteries of death and the afterlife. This beautifully illustrated book draws on the British Museum's world-famous collection of mummies and other funerary evidence to offer an accessible account of Egyptian beliefs in an afterlife and examine the ways in which Egyptian society responded materially to the challenges these beliefs imposed.
The author describes in detail the numerous provisions made for the dead and the intricate rituals carried out on their behalf. He considers embalming, coffins and sarcophagi, shabti figures, magic and ritual, and amulets and papyri, as well as the mummification of sacred animals, which were buried by the millions in vast labyrinthine catacombs.
The text also reflects recent developments in the interpretation of Egyptian burial practices, and incorporates the results of much new scientific research. Newly acquired information derives from a range of sophisticated applications, such as the use of noninvasive imaging techniques to look inside the wrappings of a mummy, and the chemical analysis of materials used in the embalming process. Authoritative, concise, and lucidly written, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt illuminates aspects of this complex, vibrant culture that still perplex us more than 3,000 years later.
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John H. Taylor is an assistant keeper in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Musuem. He is the author of Egyptian Coffins, Unwrapping a Mummy, and Egypt and Nubia.
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