The Pyramids

The Pyramids were built more than 4000 years ago by the Egyptians.
The most famous ones are on the west bank of the river Nile, outside of Cairo. They were built as burial places for the Egyptian kings.
After a king’s death, his body was turned into what is called a “mummy.”
This preserved it. The king’s mummy was placed inside the pyramid, along with treasure.

Question: This preserved it.
What does “this” and “it” mean in the sentence?
This means “mummy”? It means “a king’s body”?

Thank you!!!

This = [the process of] turning the body into a mummy
It = the king’s body, yes

“this preserved it” doesn’t really make a lot of sense in this paragraph. I agree that “this” is most likely referring to the mummification process but it was not mentioned previously so it shouldn’t be referred to as “this”. It almost seems like there is a sentence missing. I would just ignore it.


Also, a ‘mummy’ is any dead body that has been preserved so as to survive for centuries without decaying. It usually refers to the deliberate ritual preservation carried out by the Egyptians (and the effort and expense that they put into would scale with how important the person was, so in practice a lot of the Egyptian mummies that have survived* until the present day were kings and queens, but there were cheaper, less effective methods of mummification available to less wealthy people - Mummy - Wikipedia ), but we also use the word to refer to other corpses which have been prevented from rotting, whether deliberately or accidentally. See for example the Inca mummies - Children of Llullaillaco - Wikipedia

…or, if you like, watch the Buffy episode Inca Mummy Girl - "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Inca Mummy Girl (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb - it won’t actually teach you much about mummies, or Incas, but it will be fun, and it will be a bit more English practice :slight_smile:

*It feels weird to use the word ‘survived’ to describe something which is by definition dead, but that’s just an inadequacy of the english language in this context. ‘Lasted’ might also be a good word to use.