The bodies of those who were buried in the pyramids were preserved from decay by a secret process, known only to the priests. After the bodies were prepared, they were wrapped in bands of fine linen, and on the inside of these was spread a peculiar kind of gum. There were sometimes a thousand yards of these bands on a single body. After they were thus prepared, a soft substance was placed around the bandaged body. This covering, when it hardened, kept the body in a complete state of preservation.
Charles J. Barnes New National Fourth Reader (New York: American Book Company, 1884) 365