Tags: 8 million | mummified | dogs | other | animals

8 Million Mummified Dogs, Other Animals Discovered in Egyptian Mass Tomb

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 12:30 PM

Approximately 8 million mummified dogs and other animals once adorned the catacombs next to the sacred temple of Anubis in Saqqara, indicating that the Anubis animal cult in ancient Egypt provided an integral aspect of its community, according to a new study.

The ancient Egyptians, who worshipped the jackal-headed Anubis as the god of mummification and the afterlife, built the temple and catacombs in Saqqara between 747-332 B.C. in the country’s ancient capital of Memphis, according to CBS News. The new study, headed by researcher Paul Nicholson from Cardiff University’s School of History, Archeology, and Religion, unearthed the mummified animals after a six-year excavation.

“We're very pleased and somewhat surprised by the results,” Nicholson told CNN over the weekend. “We hadn't expected that there would be so many animals, and it opens up a new series of questions.”

Nicholson, who has been studying animal cults since the 1990s, noted the Egyptians’ emphasis on the importance of honoring the gods by providing them with a fitting burial motivated by sincere religious beliefs. The Egyptians likely bred and raised the dogs and other animals for the specific purpose of mummifying them later.

Many of the dog remains discovered indicated that the puppies had been only several hours, days, or weeks old before they were mummified, according to NBC News. Others, however, were much older and had reached full maturity.

“These animals were not strictly ‘sacrificial,’” Nicholson told NBC News, however. “Rather, the dedication of an animal mummy was regarded as a pious act, with the animal acting as intermediary between the donor and the gods.”

Many of the mummified animals discovered, which also included jackals, foxes, falcons, cats, and mongooses, in addition to dogs, were found to be disintegrated or damaged by grave robbers and industrialists, according to CBS News. However, this has not dimmed the archaeologists’ enthusiasm or deterred the researchers from running tests and gathering data from this burial site.

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Approximately 8 million mummified dogs and other animals once adorned the catacombs next to the sacred temple of Anubis in Saqqara, indicating that the Anubis animal cult in ancient Egypt provided an integral aspect of its community, according to a new study.
8 million, mummified, dogs, other, animals
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2015-30-24
Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 12:30 PM
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