Mummies Found In Egyptian Tombs
cemetery of mummified animals, which experts say could
shed new light on ancient Egypt's religious beliefs, has
been discovered by archaeologists at Abydos, southern
Egypt. It contains large pottery jars holding the mummified
bodies of 25 falcons, and eight small limestone coffins
with the mummies of rodents measuring about 10cm (4in),
officials said. The coffins are embossed with golden reliefs
of the animals.
more rodent mummies were found in small wooden coffins
painted in red and blue, said Yahya al-Masri, the antiquities
official responsible for the area, who believes that many
more animal mummies remain to be found at the site.
cemetery, believed to date to the late Pharaonic era, was
found after ground subsided at Abydos, a vast complex of tombs
and temples which was believed by ancient Egyptians to have
been the gateway to the underworld.
Ikram, a leading expert on animal mummies, said: "It's
a fantastic find that could tell us a lot about what people
believed at the time, as well as about ancient fauna. "The
ancient Egyptians mummified a wide range of animals, from
baboons to beetles, either as pets or because they were sacred.
cemetery containing dogs and a bird called the ibis was found
at Abdyos in the 19th century, but archaeologists have traditionally
neglected animal cemeteries in favour of more glamorous human
burial grounds, Mr Ikram said. "We'll continue to work
there to see what else might be buried at the site,"
said Gaballah Ali Gaballah, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council
of Antiquities. Experts will also try to decipher hieroglyphs
found at the site.