Excerebration

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Excerebration is an Egyptian mummification procedure of removal of the brain from corpses prior to actual embalming. Greek writer Herodotus, a frequent visitor to Egypt wrote in the fifth century B.C. about the process "Having agreed on a price, the bearers go away, and the workmen, left alone in their place, embalm the body. If they do this in the most perfect way, they first draw out part of the brain through the nostrils with an iron hook, and inject certain drugs into the rest".[1]

An object more than 3 inches (8 centimeters) long probably made from plants in the group Monocotyledon (including palm and bamboo) would have been used for liquefying and removing the brain. The instrument would be inserted through a hole punched into the ethmoid bone near the nose. Some parts of the brain would be wrapped around this stick and pulled out, and the other parts would be liquefied. The Egyptian mummy would then be put on its abdomen and the liquid drained through the nose hole before other embalming procedures.

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  1. ^ translated by A. D. Godley, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1920, through Perseus Digital Library