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Exploring Mummification with Hot Dogs

by Teisha Rowland, PhD
Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
1 to 2 days
Key Concepts
mummification, desiccation, decomposition, Egyptology, natron salts
A mummified hot dog next to a normal hot dog.

Introduction

Have you ever seen or heard of the movies "The Mummy" or "The Mummy Returns"? Mummies have often played a part in nightmares for Western cultures, but in ancient Egypt, mummification was a serious religious ritual thought to be necessary for a person to enjoy the afterlife. In this activity, you will learn about the science behind the process of mummification by mummifying a hot dog.

Credits

Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Ruler
  • Scrap piece of paper and pen or pencil
  • Piece of string or yarn
  • Paper towels
  • Airtight plastic storage box with lid. Box must be at least 3 inches deep and longer and wider than the hot dog.
  • Meat hot dog
  • Baking soda, approximately 3 pounds from unopened packages. You will need enough to thoroughly surround and cover the hot dog in the box. Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate.
  • Optional: Disposable gloves
    Materials needed to mummify a hot dog
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Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
1 to 2 days
Key Concepts
mummification, desiccation, decomposition, Egyptology, natron salts