The Egyptians did not stop at the mummification of the human body; sacred animals, birds, reptiles, fishes, and even insects were treated in a similar way, and the meat offerings deposited with the wealthy dead were likewise "preserved."
What the Egyptians really thought of mummification can only be partially guessed.
At first the luxury of mummification was reserved for the king, who was identified with Osiris and was buried with an abundance of ritual and magic words.
Earlier, the processes of mummification produced a skeleton merely clothed in a dry and shrunken skin.
Outside Egypt mummification was practised amongst the ancient Peruvians, who took advantage of the desiccating atmosphere and salt soil of their caves for preserving the dead in good condition without any embalming process.
Elliott Smith, A Contribution to the Study of Mummification in Egypt (Cairo, 1906); The Archaeological Survey of Nubia Bulletins (Cairo, 1908 seq.); Dr Lortet and M.