Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making a Chicken Mummy

We are going to make a Chicken Mummy from a Cornish game hen as part of Ancient Egypt. We've already done our Papyrus Kit (not too complicated) and so it's time to move on to Mummies!

Some thoughts:

Ancient Egypt is 932 in the Dewey Decimal system. Resources are easy to find.

Charles Kovacs' book only has one Ancient Egyptian myth. But it does a nice job of explaining Egyptian culture and the flooding of the Nile river and so on. The best thing that I found from it was the explanation of the Nile river delta (like fingers at the end of an arm) and the marshy region there. It was a good lead-in to the Papyrus Kit.

Making a chicken mummy is not hard. These directions suggest soaking your Cornish game hen in rubbing alcohol to be sure it is clean and sanitized. This eliminates a later smell (aside from the smell of rubbing alcohol). The Blog "What Will We Do Today?" gives the most detailed instructions and plenty of photos for lots of crafts, including How to Mummify a Chicken.

Most important things to know are that you buy:
lots of Kosher salt (10-12 boxes)
a frozen cornish game hen
a package of Ziploc freezer bags
a bottle of rubbing alcohol

Some people add baking soda to their salt mixture. Some people add spices.

Since you don't get to touch the mummy while it soaks in the salt, and play with it, and see what the salt is doing and how it is working, I have us "mummify cucumber slices" first. Simply slice up a cucumber and put it on a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt. Then the kids can mess with them as much as they want. The salt will soak up the liquid in the cucumber and get wet. Then change the salt. This helps your students to see the process first hand before you do it with a chicken.


Renee said...

The first soak in rubbing alcohol is done. We put King Cluck in a double bagging of Ziploc gallon size bags. It took two boxes of Kosher salt to fill the gallon bag. Hold open his body cavity with a fork to make sure you fill it completely with salt.

Renee said...

I now have three successful animal mummies and they've all been really fun to do!

"King Cluck" in 2012 (Cornish game hen)

"Cluckopatra" in 2018 (full-sze chicken) -- notes on how much salt we used on my Ancient Mythology: Egypt webpage

"Nefertrouti" in 2019 (rainbow trout) -- as part of a Summer Camp -- getting a dressed rainbow trout from the grocery store is easiest and this mummy is much quicker than the others