Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said on Saturday that archaeologists were able to discover dozens of cats that had been mummified. Along with cats were 100 wooden statues of cats as well a bronze burst of Bastet. Bastet is the ancient Egyptian goddess of cats. The artifacts come from a tomb in a cemetery believed to be around 6,000 years old.
The reason for the excavation was to show the richness of the Egyptian civilization. Also, to attract attention worldwide of the magnificent monuments that came from that time period.
According to experts, Egyptians often chose to be buried with their belongings as well as animals and or statues. Archaeologist Salima Ikram says that they did so as a means to bring their pets with them to the afterlife.
In her post on her site, Ikram says that the animals also were there to provide food or act as an offering to particular gods. Some animals were thought to be physical manifestations of specific Egyptian gods.
Cats And Ancient Egypt
During an interview with NPR, Ikram says that animal mummification during their time would be the same a lighting a candle in current times, asking a church for a blessing.
According to a curator at the Smithsonian, Antonietta Catanzariti, hundreds of thousands of cat mummies have been found. Ancient Egyptians were fond of the what felines hunt and how they were protective of their children.
Researchers not only were able to discover cats in the tomb, but a statue of a cow, lion, and falcon as well. There were a plethora of mummy scarab beetles as well as wooden snakes and crocodiles. According to the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the bug find was rare. Prior to the excavation, he noticed that the coffins had drawings of scarabs.