The process of treating dead bodies to prevent decay. A professional embalmer is
called a mortician or undertaker. In ancient Egypt bodies were preserved for use of
the soul after death. Modern embalming is intended to retard decay long enough to
hold a funeral at a convenient time or to transport the body over a distance.
Embalming in accomplished by draining blood from the veins and injecting several
gallons of a formalin solution (a preservative and a disinfectant) into an artery. The
formalin solution spreads throughout the body and soaks into all tissues, retarding
decay. An embalmer may use cosmetics and plastic waxes to conceal visible
The practice of embalming is regulated by state licensing laws. Almost every state
requires that a prospective embalmer be graduated from a state-accredited college of
mortuary science (the course lasts approximately 12 months), that he serve a 1-3
year apprenticeship, and that he pass a state board of examination.
History of Embalming
The art of Embalming was originated by the
Egyptians as early as 4000 B.C. Some
methods similar to those of the Egyptians were
used by the Persians, Syrian, Babylonian, and
other ancient civilizations.
In ancient Egypt, bodies of the poor were
merely packed in salt and dried in the sun. The
& Variety of
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This topic focuses on all subjects, but not
limited to, topics dealing with embalming.
Explanation of what embalming is, and
why it's done. It also includes sections
about the history of embalming and more.
|From Ancient Egypt to Today Embalming Over the Ages
Embalming in the Middle Ages
Unlike many ancient arts, the art of embalming was not completely lost during the
Middle Ages. The body of King Knut, placed in Winchester Cathedral, England in
1036, was found in good condition in 1776. The bodies of William the Conqueror
and his wife, Mathilda, buried for 500 years, were discovered in Caen, France, in the
Embalming in the U.S.
Present embalming methods were developed
mainly in the United States in the late 19th
century. Dr. Auguste Renouard (1839-1912), a
U.S. physician, was one of the early leaders in
bodies of the wealthy were mummified. First, the brain and internal organs were
removed. After the body was cleansed with palm wine, the body cavities were
packed with spices such as myrrh and cinnamon. The corpse was steeped in
perfume, then immersed for several weeks in a tank filed with natron, a salt solution.
After that, the body was washed with water and sometimes coated inside and out
with melted resin. Finally, the body was wrapped \with linen bandages coated in
resin, becoming a mummy. It was then placed in a wooden or stone coffin. Well
preserved bodies of Egyptian kings have been found in tombs after 4,500 years.
|Embalming as it Developed in the United States
Civil War Era Embalming (1860's)
|Special Attention Given to
Embalming by these Undertakers
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