One of the museums in the Vatican Museums is an Egyptian Museum, which has a large collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt including a couple of mummies.
What was the purpose of mummies? Well, the ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, her soul left the body and continued to exist. However, the soul died once the body decomposed, so ancient Egyptians mummified their dead in order to slow down the process of decomposition. The longer decomposition could be delayed, the longer the soul lived.