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Photos: The Amazing Mummies of Peru and Egypt

Jaguar jar

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: Photographer John Weinstein, Copyright 2015 the Field Museum, A115203d_002C)

Detailed ceramic pots and jars are often found with mummies. The Paracas culture offered objects like this double-spouted jar that bears the face of a jaguar.

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: R. Mickens/Copyright AMNH)

Egypt and parts of Peru may have similarly dry desert climates, but mummification in the regions is notably different. The differences are likely connected to the beliefs about the practice. "Mummies" explores the similarities as well as the differences between the cultures, societies, environments and burial traditions.

Canopic jars

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: Photographer John Weinstein, Copyright 2015 the Field Museum, A115240d_002A)

These limestone jars carved with representations of the four sons of Horus were designed to hold the organs of the dead. The symbols of the four deities were carved upon removable lids and were placed to protect the organs and serve the dead through the afterlife.

In touch with history

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: C. Chesek/Copyright AMNH)

Another touch-screen station allows guests to handle a canopic jar model. This specimen would have held a mummy's stomach.

Animal offerings

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: C. Chesek/Copyright AMNH)

Millions of animal mummies have been discovered in cemeteries. Archaeologists explain that these were not pets, but rather offerings to Egyptian gods who were associated with specific animals.

Shawabti

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: C. Chesek/Copyright AMNH)

Items buried with mummies in Egyptian tombs provided for the dead in the afterlife. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with servants represented by figurines called shawabti. Preferably a year's worth of servants along with 36 overseers, one for each Egyptian week, were supplied as well.

Unique offerings

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: Photographer John Weinstein, Copyright 2015 the Field Museum, A115212d_007A)

Likely, this gazelle was raised at a temple specifically to be mummified for a burial offering.

Distinct gifts

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: Photographer John Weinstein, Copyright 2015 the Field Museum, A115211d_015D)

A baby crocodile was intricately wrapped and buried as an offering in an Egyptian tomb.

Remembering their past

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: R. Mickens/Copyright AMNH)

At the "Mummies" exhibition, guests can tour a life-size burial from 26th-Dynasty Egypt. This represents a time when Egyptians explored their own past, reviving early traditions of art, architecture and tomb design.

Decorative coffins

mummies exhibit

(Image credit: R. Mickens/Copyright AMNH)

Coffins from the 26th Dynasty era tended to have much more decoration, hearkening back to previous times. The hieroglyphs on this coffin were inspired by "The Book of the Dead," a series of texts believed to help a person traverse the underworld and find the afterlife.