Journal of Experimental and Clinical Anatomy

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Ancient Embalming Techneques Amongst The Ogoni Tribe In Southern Nigeria

A.I Udoaka, L Oghenemavwe, T Ebenezer


Embalming is the art and science of temporary preserving human remains to forestall decomposition. It was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians dating back to 4000BC. This research was carried out to study the traditional method of embalmment by the Ogonis, a tribe in the Southern part of Nigeria. A total of 140 elders from the various communities in Ogoni land were used for this study. It was done by oral interview because the elders who knew about the tradition were illiterates and no written document was available. The results showed that the ancient people of Ogoni predominantly used large quantities of alcohol concentrate (dry gin), potash, herbal leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) and kernel oil. The reasons for embalmment were to have enough time for burial rites, giving the dead last respect and to transport the dead to their ancestral home. The preservation could only last for 2 to 3 days. Findings were compared with the ancient embalming techniques of other people such as Egyptians, the Greeks and others.

Key words: Ogoni, Embalmment, Alcohol, Burial rites.
AJOL African Journals Online