Dozens of cat mummies and a rare collection of mummified scarabaggi have been discovered in seven sarcophagi, some dating more…
Dozens of cat mummies and a rare collection of mummified scarabaggi have been discovered in seven sarcophagi, some dating more than 6000 years in a place on the edge of the pyramid complex in Saqqara, south of Cairo.
Antiquity Khaled el-Enany said the discovery was made of an Egyptian archaeological mission during the excavation work that began in April.
Three of the graves had been used for cats, he said, while one of four other sarcophagi found on the spot was unopened.
An Egyptian archaeologist cleans mummified cats at the site south of Cairo. Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats as gods. Photo: Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images
The tomb comes from the fifth dynasty of the ancient congress and is unusual because the façade and the door are intact, which means that its content may still be untouched, said Mohamed Youssef, head of the Saqqara area. He said experts plan to explore it in the next few weeks.
Mostafa Waziri, chief of Egypt’s highest antiquity council, said the mission had also broken the first mummies of scarabs in the area.
Two such mummies were found in a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted cover decorated with three scarabs painted in black, he said.
Another collection of scarab mumier was found in a smaller sarcophagus.
Mummified scarabs on display in a glass case found in a newly discovered grave, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt’s famous pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt. Photo: Nariman El-Mofty / AP
“[mummified] Scarab is something really unique. It’s something really rare,” said Waziri.
“A few days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with scarabs drawings. I’ve never heard of them before.”
Among the dozens of cat mummies, 100 woods were upgraded, gilded statues of cats and one in bronze dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.
Cats held a special place in ancient Egypt and were mummified as religious offerings.
A collection of wood, gilded statues of a lion, a cow and a falk was also appreciated at the Saqqara site.
The Department of Antiquity also found painted wooden cobblers and crocodile archophagy, a collection of gilded statues depicting animal features, as well as items like amulets, canopic jars, writing tools and papyrus organs.
Agence France-Presse and Reuters