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BREIDABLIK — If they could, fourth graders in Brittane Hendricks’ Breidablik Elementary class would have flown to the deserts of Egypt to find out just how well they could mummify chickens. Given the class’ resources and time constraints, however, the forest behind the elementary had to suffice.

Nonetheless, the experience of mummifying chickens last fall in the class was spurred by a passion for studying Egypt was culminated last Wednesday with the unearthing of their makeshift mummies.

“They wouldn’t have studied the subject so intently if it hadn’t been such a real-life experience,” Hendricks said.

Last fall, to dry out the chickens for the mummification process, the carcasses were rubbed with salt and cinnamon over a seven-week period. In accordance with strict Egyptian tradition — which the students, who had studied the country for three months knew well — the organs of each of the five chickens were removed and placed in canopic jars. Though the class said they immensely enjoyed studying the ancient culture, some of the students with more sensitive stomachs had to be brave for the mummifying portion.

“Mummifying was no day at the beach,” Katie Cotey said. “It smelled bad and you had to touch fourth graders in Brittane Hendricks’ Breidablik Elementary class would have flown to the deserts of Egypt to find out just how well they could mummify chickens. Given the class’ resources and time constraints, however, the forest behind the elementary had to suffice.

Nonetheless, the experience of mummifying chickens last fall in the class was spurred by a passion for studying Egypt was culminated last Wednesday with the unearthing of their makeshift mummies.

“They wouldn’t have studied the subject so intently if it hadn’t been such a real-life experience,” Hendricks said.

Last fall, to dry out the chickens for the mummification process, the carcasses were rubbed with salt and cinnamon over a seven-week period. In accordance with strict Egyptian tradition — which the students, who had studied the country for three months knew well — the organs of each of the five chickens were removed and placed in canopic jars. Though the class said they immensely enjoyed studying the ancient culture, some of the students with more sensitive stomachs had to be brave for the mummifying portion.

“Mummifying was no day at the beach,” Katie Cotey said. “It smelled bad and you had to touch the insides (of the chickens).”

The deceased fowl were then buried in a “secret location,” which turned out to be the forest behind the school.

Before digging up the sarcophagi, several students speculated on how well their poultry would be preserved.

“I think they’re going to be much smaller,” Tommy English said.

“I don’t even believe the chickens will be there,” said a skeptical Jacob Albrecht.

“I expect it to be completely awful smelling, like a bomb went off in a deli store,” Adam Helm added.

And off the children marched to the rear of the school, into the forest where the their mummy burial grounds had laid for eight months. Poulsbo firefighter and EMT Brian Junkin, whose daughter Hailey is in Hendricks’ class, was on hand — gas mask and all — to help unearth the class’ experiment.

Once digging began, the children waited, with eager anticipation, for the first bag of chickens and their guts, to emerge.

And there they were — the mummies still delicately wrapped in cotton as they’d been left. Once unveiled, the curious eyes of the students examined the poultry, fascinated that yes, the poultry was indeed “mummified,” for the most part.

“I thought it was cool,” said Cody Corn, who assisted Junkin on the dig. “It’s shrivelled, but still kind of wet.”

Only then, the chickens — one unmummified and the rest deeper in the ground — were brought out of their resting places. Unfortunately, groundwater had seeped thoroughly into the lower portion of the sarcophagi, which released a potent odor that sent Hendricks’ fourth graders on an exodus far and fast from the burial site.

“Moisture,” Junkin said, “is not a good thing for mummified chickens.”

As the children fled, Hendricks turned to Junkin as he stood in the pit where the chickens once laid.

“Too bad you won’t have any kids in my classroom next year, Brian,” she said, smiling. “Who knows what we’ll do.”

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