It is unclear if ancient Egyptians knew about the existence of the fossil when they built the tomb for the doglike mummies, it added.
Studies of ancient Egypt indicate that the people of the region worshipped a jackal-headed god of the afterlife named Anubis. Finding out more about these animals and where they came from could help scientists better understand Egyptian culture and the people’s relationship with animals.
According to archaeologists from the University of Cardiff, these remnants provide important clues about burial practices in Egypt especially focusing on animal cults.
A common archaeological dig site was being explored by British researchers for examining catacombs when they made the horrific discovery of nearly 8 million dog mummies. He went on to explain that in doing so, he believes participants could have been “hoping that the animal” would help someone in their family who recently died, as the dog might interact with Anubis in the afterlife, causing the ancient Egyptian god to take favorably to that dead relative, CNN reported.
Ancient historians and cultural records have detailed animal cults in Egypt were known probably as early as 130 AD. This includes a map from 1897 that shows their location clearly marked.
They found a series of unadorned tunnels, in some cases filled with animal remains and in other cases cleared out. One shouldn’t imagine an ornate King Tut, though: They were likely stacked on top of each other and “survived very badly”, Nicholson said. “What you have got is the decayed remains of the mummies”.
Nicholson’s team of researchers have theorized these young offspring were most likely reared for the specific goal of sacrifice to Anubis.
The older dogs apparently had a more grand and elaborate burial where they also could have dwelt inside the temple.
These particular catacombs where the dogs were discovered has been dated to between 750 and 30 B.C., right when Egypt was starting to make connections with the Romans and the Greeks. Nicholson and his co-authors, Salima Ikram and Steve Mills, are now working on a more complete study.
The director of the Project, Paul Nicholson, of Cardiff University’s School of History, Archeology and Religion, states that the discovery is of great importance not because of the dead mummified animals, but the numbers of the mummified animals.
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