The scientific tourist #193 — Canopic jars, in Italy

This week’s image comes to you from the Museo Archeologico Centrale dell’ Etruria in Fiorenze (Florence), Italy. It’s a set of Canopic jars (sadly, with little information on where in Egypt they originated):

Canopic jars

Canopic jars were used by the ancient Egyptians during the mummification process. In order to keep the bulk of a body dry enough to stay preserved, they had to do something with the deceased subject’s organs — and these jars were their solution. Normally each jar held just one major organ (after being washed), so a mummy would be accompanied by a little flock of jars in its tomb. Meanwhile, the material they’re made from is indicative of the budget / social class of the… occupant. More affluent folks had carved limestone or calcite jars, less affluent ones got pottery (and the poor, of course, couldn’t afford mummification in the first place).

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