Mummies and Bog Bodies: Digging Up Bodies

By Jeanette Larson

We often associate mummies with Egypt but mummified remains can be found all over the world. While Egyptian mummies were man-made, that is people intentionally mummified remains; many mummies were accidentally created when a body was preserved in ice, ash, or other material like bogs or dried out naturally due to perfect climate conditions. These accidental, or natural, mummies are rarer and finding them usually creates headlines and adds greatly to scientific knowledge.

Books to Share

Adventures in the Ice Age by Linda Bailey

Bodies from the Bog by James M. Deem

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem

Mummies: The Newest Coolest and Creepiest from around the World by Shelley Tanaka

Outside and Inside Mummies by Sandra Markle

Books to Show or Booktalk

Bodies from the Ash by James M. Deem

The Egyptology Handbook: A Course in the Wonders of Egypt by Emily Sands

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Make Like a Tree and Leave by Paula Danzinger

Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

Uncovering Mummies: An Isabel Soto Archaeology Adventure by Agnieszka Biskup


The American Library Association,, sells "Read Like an Egyptian" posters to display in the library.


Mummy Candy Molds

Many online suppliers sell candy molds that can be used to create mummy chocolates or lollipops. Confectionary House,, also sells a mold for bones.

Date Candy

Make an authentic Egyptian candy by mixing a cup of dates with enough water to create a paste. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of cardamom seeds to the mixture. Add half a cup of chopped walnuts and knead until fully mixed. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls. Dip into honey and then roll in a dish of finely ground almonds. King Tut and Cleopatra enjoyed this treat!


King Tut's Curse

Invite the children to write a paragraph about whether or not they believe in the curse of King Tut's tomb. Ask staff members to judge the best entry. Have one prize for the most logical rationale and another for the most creative reasoning.


The American Library Association,, sells "Read Like an Egyptian" bookmarks that make inexpensive incentives.

Costumes and Props

Make Your Own Mummy

Follow the instructions provided at Kids Halloween Activities,, to make a couple of mummies to "hang out" at the library.


Show the YouTube video of "The Mummy Song" from the Disney Channel program, Phineas and Ferb.

Riddles and Jokes

What do you call a mummy at the South Pole?



Charmed Bookmarks
  • Construction paper
  • Scrapbook embellishments
  • Stickers
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn or shiny cord
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Glue sticks

Mummies often had items included in their tombs to protect them on their journey into the afterlife. Create a talisman by creating charmed bookmarks. In advance, cut construction paper into bookmark sized strips or precut using an Ellison die cut. Provide the children with an assortment of scrapbook embellishments, especially flat ones, and stickers that represent a variety of interests like sports, fashion, animals, etc. Novelty stickers and craft charms are available from Oriental Trading Company,, and other craft suppliers. Each child should select three to five items for their bookmark. Glue the embellishments to the bookmark and add stickers. Use the crayons or colored pencils to finish any design or drawing desired. Punch a hole at the top of the bookmark and thread a length of shiny cord through to finish the bookmark.

Egyptian Collar
  • Cardboard or tag board
  • Collar pattern
  • Embellishments (self-adhesive gems, sequins, glitter, feathers)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors

In advance cut the tag board or cardboard into circles, enlarging the pattern provided at the end of this chapter, if needed. Each should be about 14" wide. Precut a slit, as indicated. Also in advance, photocopy enough patterns for each child to have one. Have the children cut out their collar and glue it to the cardboard. Provide crayons and markers, as well as embellishments for each child to color and decorate their collar. Then have a fashion show and walk like an Egyptian!

Games and Activities

Hounds and Jackals

This ancient Egyptian game is similar to the game Snakes and Ladders. Play using a purchased game board or make your own. A sample board and rules can be found at The Games Museum,

Draw Like an Egyptian

Download and print out the instructions for drawing a sphinx based on Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book,, and let the children practice their drawing skills.

How the Egyptian's Made Mummies Mad Lib

Fill out the online mad lib at to create a funny story about mummification.


Mummified Flowers
  • Fresh flowers, like roses and carnations
  • Sand
  • Shoebox or other cardboard container

In advance, trim the flower stems so that they are about ½ inch long. Place the flower upside down in the box so that the stem is sticking up. Cover the flower with sand, leaving the stem exposed. Allow the flower to sit in the box for at least a week. Remove it to see how much the flower has dehydrated. Return the flower to the sand and allow the process to continue until it has completed dried out.

Web-Based Activities

Make a Mummy

Discovery Kids provides an interactive game that tests your talent for mummification. Other games and interactive activities are also available.


The Iceman Cometh (50 minutes)

Mummies Made in Egypt (30 minutes)

The Mummy (73 minutes)


Mummy Tombs

Author James M. Deem maintains this site that features photographs and information about mummies around the world, along with news about mummies and new finds.

Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato

Over 100 mummies were found in the catacombs near Guanajuato, Mexico beginning in 1865. The museum website includes photographs and information about the remains. An exhibit from this museum is touring the United States through 2012. Visit Accidental Mummies,, to learn more about the mummies and to view video footage from a tour of the exhibit.

Tomb of the Unknown Mummy

This interactive game encourages players to explore a tomb and discover who is buried there.

Professional Resources

Archaeology for Kids: Uncovering the Mysteries of Our Past; 25 Activities by Richard Panchyk

Craft Materials

Egyptian Collar Craft pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (145 KB) (Full Page)

This is a full page of an Egyptian Collar Craft Pattern. It is a big round circle with a smaller circle in the middle. On the bottom side both circles are split and attached making a broad band to go around a neck. The collar is decorated with glyphs from ancient Egypt.


Texas Reading Club 2011 Programming Manual / Dig Up a Good Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011